The Ethiopian government has announced a successful competition of the latest military operation against rebel forces in the northern Afar and Amhara regions.
The Ethiopian government forces have “routed the terrorist group forces in the Afar and Amhara regions, and effectively prevented (the rebel group) from taking ammunitions it brought to the areas it had invaded to its final destination,” Xinhua news agency quoted state-run Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) citing Legesse Tulu, Minister of Government Communication Service, as saying.
“The government has decided to order the army to keep the stronghold in liberated areas without further proceeding due to various reasons.”
Noting that the aim of the operation was to liberate the two regions from the occupation of the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the Minister stressed that the entire Afar and Eastern zones of the Amhara have been cleared of the aggression of forces loyal to the TPLF as per the plan.
The conflict that started in early November last year in the country’s Northernmost Tigray region between the TPLF and the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) following the former’s attack on the northern military command of the latter had over the second half of 2021 expanded further southwards, affecting the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions.
The ENDF had initially taken control of Mekelle, Tigray’s capital, within less than one month from the ousted rebel group, which used to rule the region for about three decades.
In June, the federal government announced a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew its forces from the region, emphasising the move would facilitate humanitarian assistance, peaceful livelihood, and agriculture activities amid the approaching rainy season.
Forces loyal to the TPLF soon took control of much of the area in the region, including the regional capital.
The conflict has since expanded to Amhara and Afar, which was followed by a six-month nationwide state of emergency rule by the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) to ward off forces of the TPLF — an entity designated as a terrorist organization by Parliament.
In line with the national call, which the Ethiopian government dubbed a “survival campaign”, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed joined frontline combat late last month, followed by strong mobilisation among the general public.
The massive nationwide mobilisation seems to have played a role as the ENDF, supported by regional allies and the popular movement, intensified its military operations against the rebel fighters.
Over the past month, the ENDF, together with regional forces and militia fighters, has claimed control of strategic cities and towns across Amhara and Afar, reversing months of battlefield gains by the rebel forces, eventually forcing the rebel forces to withdraw from the regions against their initial plans.