The Tigray war continues in northern Ethiopia, in the Afar region

Source: RFI

An Afar militiaman in Shewa Robit, Ethiopia, in December 2021 (illustrative image).
An Afar militiaman in Shewa Robit, Ethiopia, in December 2021 (illustrative image). AFP – AMANUEL SILESHI

The federal army of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed does not intervene, leaving the Tigrayan rebels of the TPLF to face Afar militiamen. The advancing Tigrayan troops forced an estimated 300,000 people to flee the fighting. The wounded arrive in Semera, the provincial capital of Afar.

Between the city of Abala where he was injured and Semera where he is being treated, the militiaman Ahmed Ibrahim had to travel 400 kilometers, reports  our correspondent in Addis Ababa , Noé Hochet-Bodin.  Around his leg, a cast to cover a bullet wound. He was hit by a sniper.

“ They had positioned heavy artillery on the mountain above and shelled us. After that, we had to flee. But the enemy stormed the town, and I was shot and wounded. They were very numerous. But we were only 33  .

Dubti hospital, near Semera, is full of war wounded. Only militiamen. No soldier of the federal army is fighting assures Mohammed, also shot in the leg. 

“ I was injured but luckily I had my Afar comrades who evacuated me. On the other hand, the federal army, I never saw them on the front. I don’t know why they don’t support us.  »

The courtyard and hallways of the hospital are overflowing with patients. More than 300 wounded are treated for a maximum capacity of 140 beds. Doctor Hussein Aden runs the establishment. 

“  In five days, 98 wounded were admitted. But since the start of the conflict, there has been a constant overflow of patients.  »

Of the hospitals in Afar, two are out of order because of the fighting. The war may continue in the north of the country, but Abiy Ahmed decided to lift the state of emergency yesterday. 

Eritrea’s troubled role 

Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts are increasing to find a way out of the conflict. On Friday, the representative of the European Union for the Horn of Africa pointed to some encouraging signals. But in this delicate phase, many observers are worried about the undermining role that Eritrea, engaged alongside Abyi Ahmed in this conflict, could play.

The latest signals sent by Asmara are indeed worrying in diplomatic circles. Despite Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s promise not to pursue the TPFL within Tigray’s borders, Eritrea continues its bellicose rhetoric.

A week ago, President Afeworki affirmed in an interview his desire “to annihilate the troublemaker” that the TPLF constitutes according to him. A fortnight ago, to justify the resumption of fighting and their offensive in the Afar region, the Tigrayans accused Asmara of continuing to threaten them. The accusation is difficult to verify and is not enough on its own to explain the Tigrayan breakthrough which is continuing, but is considered ”  probable  ” by many sources.

”  Asmara’s goal is not to end the war, but to take revenge against the Tigrayans for their role in the Ethiopia-Eritrea war, ” said a diplomatic source. This is the main obstacle to peace today.  This is no doubt why the African Union mediator Olusejun Obasanjo has also asked to be received by President Afeworki. Unsuccessful so far. Prime Minister Abyi Ahmed, he was received ten days ago in Asamara, without anything filtering on their meeting.

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