Eritrea accused of starting offensive on Ethiopia’s Tigray

KAMPALA, Uganda – The Tigraan government says Eritrea has launched an all-out offensive along the country’s border with northern Ethiopia in what appears to be an escalation of last month’s fighting.

The Eritreans are fighting alongside Ethiopian federal forces, including commando units, as well as allied militias, Tigray spokesman Getachew Reda said on Tuesday.

“Eritrea is deploying its entire army as well as its reserves. Our forces are defending their positions heroically,” said Mr tweeted.

A humanitarian worker in the northern Ethiopian town of Adigrat told the AP news agency that Eritrean forces were shelling the surrounding areas.

The Ethiopian or Eritrean authorities, located north of Tigray, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Britain and Canada issued travel advice last week asking their citizens in Eritrea to remain vigilant after authorities there urged citizens to report military service.

The war in Tigray is estimated to have killed tens of thousands of people and left millions without basic services for more than a year.

Eritrean forces fought on the side of the Ethiopian federal army in Tigray when the war began in November 2020. Eritrean forces have been implicated in some of the worst atrocities committed during the conflict – allegations they deny. War broke out in August after fighting subsided earlier this year.

The US special envoy to the Horn of Africa told reporters on Tuesday that Washington had been monitoring the movement of Eritrean troops across the border.

Mike Hammer talks about troop transfer. “All external foreign actors should respect Ethiopia’s territorial integrity and avoid causing conflict.”

He reiterated his call for the warring parties to enter into negotiations that “there is no military solution to the conflict.”

Within present-day Tigray, millions of inhabitants remain largely cut off from the rest of the world. Communication and banking services were cut off, and restoring them was a key need in the reconciliation efforts.

Eritrea’s full involvement in the Tigray war is likely to complicate any peace efforts between the Tigraan leaders and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who mended relations with Eritrea as soon as he ascended the throne. took power in 2018.

But that partnership has been viewed suspiciously by the Tigrayan government, with whom Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki remains an enemy two decades after Ethiopia and Eritrea waged a bloody border war.

Associated Press reporters in Nairobi, Kenya and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, contributed to this report.

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