Fighting continues along the borders of Tigray regional state, registering an increase in the intensity of military activities in both the south and north of the region.
Regional authorities in Amhara state decreed on August 28 the adoption of a curfew in the city of Woldiya, which is threatened by Tigray’s military forces, establishing a ban on the movement of people and vehicles, except those authorized for the management of military activities, emergencies, and public works.
The following day, some local sources announced the capture of Woldiya and the approach of Tigray’s military forces toward Lalibela, although both reports have not been substantiated and are difficult to verify to date.
In a statement issued on August 31, the federal government of Ethiopia blamed Tigray’s TPLF forces for the resumption of fighting in Wag, Wolkait areas and also for conducting attacks from Sudanese territory. According to federal government reports, TPLF forces have reportedly employed numerous children in the fighting, sacrificing them as the shock force in the waves of attacks against federal forces.
The communiqué admits the capture of Kobo town in the regional state from Amhara, although adding how the reaction of the federal forces extended the breadth of the frontline far beyond the ability of the Tigrinya forces to resist.
The federal government, moreover, stresses how the offer for peace talks is still valid, despite the resumption of fighting, calling on the international community to make every possible effort to pressure the TPLF to allow a cessation of hostilities.
According to some international media outlets, the federal government launched a counteroffensive against TPLF forces on August 29 with the contribution of Eritrean forces, striking targets along Tigray’s western borders and further north near the border with Eritrea (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/9/1/ethiopia-eritrea-forces-launch-fresh-offensive-in-tigray).
According to TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda, federal and Eritrean forces reportedly launched a joint attack near Adyabo on September 1, in the northeast of the country, while intense Eritrean artillery fire hit the town of Shiraro, at short distance from the border. Fighting between Tigrayan and Eritrean forces, on the other hand, also reportedly occurred on September 1 near the town of Ademiti, just south of Shiraro, with Eritrean EDF units entering across Tigray’s borders.
According to federal government reports, however, some TPLF units attacked ENDF and Amhara regional state forces on August 31 near the town of May Cadera, a few kilometers from the border with Sudan, coming – again according to Addis Ababa authorities – from bases across the border.
Two days later, on Sept. 2, new clashes reportedly occurred near the town of Humera, on the border with Eritrea, again supported by Tigrinya units that federal authorities say launched their attack from neighboring Sudan.
On Sept. 2, the U.S. government announced that Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, Mike Hammer, will travel to Ethiopia and the region from Sept. 4 to Sept. 15 as part of a last-ditch effort to promote a cease-fire and the launch of peace talks (https://www.state.gov/special-envoy-for-the-horn-of-africa-mike-hammers-travel-to-ethiopia/).
Mike Hammer’s mission includes meetings with the African Union leadership and various civil society actors representing Ethiopia’s various regional states, while no details were provided on the continuation of his trip in the region.
On the eve of the departure of the special envoy for the Horn of Africa, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre commented on the evolution of the conflict in Ethiopia, saying that the United States condemns Eritrea’s new involvement in the clashes, the TPLF’s continued offensive outside its regional borders, and the airstrike that federal forces allegedly conducted with the use of armed drones on the night of September 1 against targets located in the center of Tigray’s capital, Mekelle (https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220902-us-says-sending-envoy-to-ethiopia-condemns-eritrea-return-to-war-1). All parties, Jean-Pierre added, must show commitment to facilitate immediate de-escalation and allow the resumption of humanitarian aid distribution.
Instead, Ethiopia’s ambassador to the United States, Saleshi Bekele, met September 1 with State Department officials, including Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, asking the U.S. government for an express condemnation of the TPLF, which the Addis Ababa government accuses of violating the truce.