ADDIS ABABA (Somaliguardian) – Tigray forces said on Tuesday they had destroyed a whole Ethiopian army division in clashes over control of the northern region that left hundreds dead and sent thousands of refugees to neighboring Sudan.
Weeks after Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed announced what he billed as a “law enforcement operation” against Tigray, regional authorities now say their troops are keeping the federal army at bay and scoring big victories in deadly battles.
Spokesman for the rebellious regional authorities Getachew Reda told Tigray TV that 21st mechanized division had been “completely destroyed” in an attack at Raya-Wahirat led by a former commander of the unit, who is currently fighting for the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF).
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s spokesman Billene Seyoum speaking to Reuters News Agency denied TPLF claims that it had destroyed a prestigious army unit. He added that many Tigrayan soldiers were surrendering in line with a 72-hour ultimatum before federal troops launch a threatened attack on the regional capital, Mekelle.
Media have been unable to verify assertions made by either side since phone and internet communication still remain down in Tigray and journalists are barred access to the region.
Hundreds died and more than 30,000 fled to neighboring Sudan since the military offensive ordered by Abiy Ahmed swung into action on November 4, triggering growing global alarm and calls for ceasefire as Ethiopia’s conflict risks spreading to other countries in the Horn of Africa region.
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