End of Truce? Ethiopian Army Reportedly Launches Ground Offensive Against Tigray Rebels
In late June, the Ethiopian government declared an unconditional ceasefire in the country’s conflict-torn Tigray region in the wake of the recapture of the regional capital Mekelle by rebel forces, which pushed government troops to retreat.
Getachew Reda, a spokesperson for the Ethiopian Tigray region's governing party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), told Reuters that the army had launched a ground offensive against rebel forces in the area.
According to the spokesperson, the army, along with special forces from the northern Amhara region, started the offensive on Monday morning. The Ethiopian government has not commented on the matter yet.
2 March 2021, 17:19 GMT
The claims come after the government, in a statement on 28 June, announced an unconditional ceasefire that “will last until the end of the farming season” in the Tigray region.
The ceasefire "will enable farmers to till their land, aid groups to operate without any military movement around, and engage with remnants (of the TPLF) who seek peace", the statement pointed out, adding that efforts to bring Tigray's former leaders to justice will continue.
Rebel forces in Tigray flatly rejected the ceasefire offer at the time, pledging to drive out the "enemies" from the area. TPLF spokesman Reda told CNN back then that the rebels would not rest until the Ethiopian military and its allied forces leave the entire region.
"We are not party to and will not be part of such a joke. The [regional] capital [of Mekelle] is firmly in the hands of our forces", he added.
Fighting in Tigray broke out in November 2020 after the Ethiopian government accused the TPLF of attacking a regional military base to hijack weapons and arm the anti-government militia. The Tigray region has been occupied by the Ethiopian military since then, which has resulted in deadly clashes with the rebels and heavy civilian losses.