Tigray: Update on the war, humanitarian situation and attempts to end the conflict

Please note: This is based on the best information I have, but it is patchy and cannot be verified.

Fighting

In the South, the Tigrayan forces are reported to be holding a ridge between Alamat and Maichew, with heavy fighting in the area.

In the North, the Tigrayans have pulled back from lowland areas, in the face of heavy shelling from Eritrean forces. Areas in the West are now outside the control of the Tigrayans, but the central front is said to be holding, around Zalambessa.

Contrary to previous reports, the ancient town of Axum is still in Tigrayan hands, but under heavy pressure. It is thought that the advancing forces are reluctant to shell the town, given the churches it houses and St. Mary of Zion in particular.

Rashid Abdi, commentator and journalist said this morning: “Tigray Region is 84,722 square kms – twice the size of Belgium. It has taken Ethiopian troops 14 days to capture 2 towns. How long will it take Ethiopian troops to overrun and fully take control of territory?”

There are further reports of drones being used to target Tigrayan artillery and missile systems.

There was a report of an Ethiopian jet bombing the Tigrayan capital, Mekelle in an area between Arid and Kuha, at midday local time.

Humanitarian situation

As of this morning, some 31,000 people had crossed into Sudan, where the UNHCR is attempting to feed and supply them.

The latest situation report briefing can be found here.

There are also reports of fighting near some of the refugee camps housing tens of thousands of Eritrean refugees. But a shortage of fuel means that communications via sat phones, which need generators to recharge them, is difficult. “We have fuel for a week — and that maybe dwindled to days now,” said Ann Encontre, resident representative for the U.N’s refugee agency in Ethiopia. “So you can imagine how desperate everything is.”

Diplomacy

Rashid Abdi had this update today: “From an impeccable source: Kenya plans to send a delegation to Addis next week led by ex-Foreign Minister Kalonzo Musyoka to explore opportunities for ceasefire and dialogue. PM Abiy has accepted the Kenyan initiative and will meet with Mr Kalonzo.”

There are also plans to increase the pressure for an end to the conflict in a range of forums – from the African Union to the UN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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