The Ethiopian government denied this Saturday that troops from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF) had taken the city of Dessie in the north of the country, TPLF Central Committee member Kindeya Gebrehiwot assured Twitter on Monday.
“The Tigray Military Command confirms that Dessie is under the complete control of our forces,” said Gebrehiwot. However, the Ethiopian government’s communications service has denied this.
“Dessie and its surroundings are still under our control,” the service said in a statement collected by the Ethiopian television broadcaster Fana.
The government intelligence service also assures that the security forces are waging a “bloody fight” against the “invading forces that have come to take the city.”
In a letter published on Saturday, the US State Department warned of the expansion of fighting in the north of the country and called on the TPLF to withdraw its troops from the Amhara and Afar regions and cease operations. Progress in the cities of Dessie and Kombolcha.
“There is no military solution to this dispute and all parties must start negotiations on a ceasefire without preconditions,” said department spokesman Ned Price.
The conflict began in November last year when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive in retaliation for the attack on the army base in Mekelle after months of tensions between the TPLF and the central government over the postponement of the parliamentary elections finally held in June and in Abiy, despite calls for boycotts and a lack of coordination in several areas – including Tigray – won a landslide due to the uncertainty.
However, the TPLF made important advances in June that enabled it to retake Mekelle, prompting Abiy, citing humanitarian grounds, to announce a unilateral ceasefire that was rejected by the group, which extended its offensive to the adjoining Amhara and Afar regions, which one The war spread to the rest of the country.