The intensity of the conflict in Ethiopia’s northern regions shows no sign of abating, with the international press reporting an airstrike conducted on September 27 by federal government forces against targets located in the town of Adi Daero, in the regional state of Tigray. On Oct. 1, however, planes of federal forces reportedly struck the town of Dedebit, again causing an unspecified number of civilian casualties.
According to press reports, the attack reportedly resulted in at least five civilian casualties and 16 wounded, while it was not confirmed by federal forces which target was hit. On Sept. 30, the federal government’s official Twitter account reported military action against weapons caches hidden by the TPLF within urban areas, but did not indicate precisely what the target of the airstrike was (https://www.africanews.com/2022/09/30/airstrike-in-ethiopias-tigray-region-kills-civilians/).
Instead, the Tigray regional government reported on Sept. 29 that it was Eritrea Air Force fighter jets that conducted the airstrike, although this information has not been verified and confirmed.
On September 28, a private U.S.-based satellite imagery management company, Maxar Technologies, released some images collected between September 19 and 26 along the border between Eritrea and the regional state of Tigray, illustrating what was interpreted as evidence of a partial mobilization of the Eritrean armed forces. The Sept. 19 images were taken near the Eritrean town of Serha, near the Tigray border and a few kilometers from the town of Zalambessa, and show a substantial deployment of artillery, while those collected on Sept. 26 refer to the town of Shiraro, in Ethiopian territory in Tigray regional state, and show intense movements of vehicles, troops and artillery (https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/satellite-images-show-military-build-ups-ethiopia-eritrea-maxar-2022-09-28/).
It is unclear at present who controls the town of Shiraro, reportedly first captured by Eritrean forces and then recaptured by TPLF forces. Satellite images would seem to confirm how the town is still-at least partially-under the control of Asmara forces. Fighting was reported on Sept. 29 east of Shiraro, although the front line appears mobile and subject to constant change (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-630616869).
Tigrinya forces reportedly captured on Sept. 29 the town of Gobiye, in the regional state of Amhara, about 50 km south of the border along the course of the A2 highway. If the news were confirmed, it would show the resumption of a Tigrinya offensive on the southern flank of the front as well, probably with the aim of recapturing the key road junction of Woldiya (https://borkena.com/2022/09/29/ethiopia-intense-fighting-reported-in-north-wollo/).
Further reports, which are difficult to confirm, report from the region how Tigrinya forces reportedly recaptured a large portion of territory north of Zalambessa, forcing Eritrean forces to fall back toward the border line. Fighting would take place mainly along the route of the B20 provincial road, and TDF forces would regain control of the territory up to the town of Adey Me’At.
On the western front, however, Eritrean forces would appear intent on bypassing the town of Adi Awala in a pincer maneuver from the north and south, probably geared toward taking control of the road that, and east, then reaches Adi Daero. Air raids conducted against this population center last Sept. 27 would seem to confirm its importance in the Tigray forces’ defense arrangements.
Firefights were also reported on Sept. 30 along the border between the regional state of Afar and Tigray, in the vicinity of the town of Berhale, where, according to sources that are difficult to confirm, an attack was reportedly launched by mixed units of federal and Eritrean forces. The news, if confirmed, would be of particular importance, showing how the mixed Ethiopian-Eritrean device would also operate from Afar territory, where a concentration of Eritrean EDF forces had been reported-but not confirmed-earlier this month.
In terms of Ethiopia’s domestic politics, on the other hand, since the withdrawal of fuel subsidies last July, the price of gasoline has increased for the third time in the past three months, registering a 20 percent increase as of Sept. 29, adding to the 30-40 percent increase already recorded since July (https://www.barrons.com/news/ethiopia-raises-fuel-prices-by-20-01664462107?tesla=y).
Finally, news of the visit conducted on Sept. 28 to Addis Ababa by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, thus completing the regional tour of visits in the aftermath of his election to the presidency of Somalia last May, was of interest. The trip, which was initially delayed as a result of disagreements with Ethiopian authorities, was described by both countries as fruitful and conducted in a peaceful atmosphere, suggesting that at least some of the disagreements have been settled (https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/tea/news/east-africa/somali-president-mohamud-in-ethiopia-3965136). The first tangible result of this meeting was the announcement by Ethiopia to support Mogadishu’s request to the UN Security Council to lift the arms embargo on Somalia (https://borkena.com/2022/09/30/ethiopia-considering-requesting-unsc-lift-the-arms-embargo-on-somalia/).