Ethiopia’s government announced Monday it had recaptured three strategic towns from the terrorist groups. The latest and rapid series of battlefield victories claimed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration is unimaginable by the enemy from inside and outside enemies.
Dessie, Kombolcha, and Bati are lie in the Amhara region on a key highway to Addis Ababa, and their reported capture by the Tigray People’s Liberation Force (TPLF) in late October had sparked fears the rebels would be marching on the capital.
“The historic Dessie city and the trade and industry corridor city, Kombolcha have been freed by the joint gallant security forces,” the government communications service said on Twitter, the latest in a round of territorial gains claimed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration.
In a nationally televised announcement, the Prime Miniter told the country Comandos the main areas that were under the control of the enemy, including Dessie, Kombolcha, and Bati are now under the control of the national army.
Most of the Amhara region, including Shoa, Kemise Special Zone and Afar regional State, as well as South Gondar, have been liberated.
The primer reiterated his point by saying the campaign will continue until the terrorist TPLF was eliminated.
“The victory will continue and nothing will stop it, the enemy will be defeated, and you will be victorious.“
Martin Plaut, senior researcher at the University of London, and a pro TPLF sympathizer told Al Jazeera the recapture of Dessie and Konbolcha was “very significant”.
“The TPLF have been pushed a long way back. I mean, they have really been pushed back through towns and villages that they fought extremely hard to take. They must have lost many lives in order to capture them,” he said via Skype from London.
Meanwhile, another TPLF sympathizer William Davison of the International Crisis Group (who was Expelled out from Ethiopian for spreading wrong information about the country) told Al Jazeera from Nairobi the intensified drone campaign and popular mobilization of new recruits for the national army “really put the pressure” on Tigrayan forces in the now recaptured towns.
In addition, the government forces had recaptured at least seven more strategic areas in Afar and Amhara regions including Lalibela, Woreillu Front, areas of Ajbar, Tenta, and Dob, while Majete, Chereti, Iriqe, Woledi, Albuko, Kemisse towns and most of Qalu Woreda a week after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared that he was going to command forces by himself after reports of TPLF advance on Addis Ababa sparked international concerns.
Lalibela, home to 11 medieval rock-cut churches and a site of pilgrimage for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, was captured in early August by Tigrayan forces locked in a brutal war with Ethiopia’s federal government for more than a year.
“The historic town of Lalibela has been liberated,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said in a tweet a few days ago, as it announced the seizure of a number of towns north of the capital, Addis Ababa.
The capture of Lalibela, home to ancient rock-hewn churches and a holy site for millions of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, is a significant symbolic gain for the government.
Intentionally or not countries such as the United States, France, and the United Kingdom urge their citizens to leave Ethiopia as soon as possible, although Abiy’s government says TPLF gains are overstated and the city is secure.
The loss to TPLF in dozens of battle places in the past ten days was very visible. Military analysts in Ethiopia have been suggesting not to give breathing space to TPLF so that it will reorganize and challenge the country once again.
Ethiopian gov’t demands apology over CNN ‘disinformation’ campaigns on Tigray conflict
Meanwhile, the Ethiopian government has accused the US-based Cable News Network (CNN) of standing behind a disinformation campaign that it said is meant at distorting facts over what began in November 2020 as a ‘law enforcement’ operation in the Tigray region according to Sudan Post.
This comes a month after CNN ran a story in which the America-based news organization claimed that forces belonging to the rebellious Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) were just at the outskirts of Addis Ababa when they were about 400 kilometers away from the Ethiopian capital.
“It’s exactly one month since @CNN lied to the global community claiming Addis Ababa was under siege. As the ENDF keeps clearing rebels out of key areas, CNN owes an apology to Ethiopia and the world for serving as the instrument of instability through its disinformation,” Billene Seyoum, press secretary in the office of Prime Minister, said in a tweet.
On Thursday, the Ethiopian Government Communication Service (GCS) said in a statement that it has information that the US-based news service has intentions to lie to the international community over reports of genocide in the Tigray region which has been caught in a grisly conflict between federal government forces and the TPLF.
“The Government of Ethiopia has received credible information that CNN intends to misinform the world once again through a supposed report claiming genocide is taking place in the Tigray region. If ever there was a nefarious weaponization and deliberate misrepresentation of the word genocide, then it would have to be the ‘Tigray Genocide’, a narrative so unscrupulously constructed,” the Government Communication Service statement reads in part.
“The cries of genocide from the TPLF camps started to appear on social media from the outset of the conflict on November 4, 2020, the exact date of TPLF’s attack on Ethiopia’s northern command. While TPLF was waging what it dubbed its “lightning strike” to decapitate Ethiopia’s army, it was simultaneously accusing its sworn enemies of genocide on the people of Tigray,” the statement added.
The statement said claim of “genocide was first and foremost debunked by the UN OHCHR and EHRC joint investigation. While the sad state of war implies civilian casualties, Ethiopia has taken steps to minimize this, even at the cost of losing territory to the TPLF.”
The statement added that “there has not been any active combat or Federal Government presence in the Tigray region since June 2021. Rather, the TPLF has sent in fighters in human waves into the Afar and Amhara regions to undertake grave crimes against civilian populations. Which begs the question, where is the said genocide against the people of Tigray taking place? Here lies the deception of some international media that portrays the aggressor as a victim.”