With internet and telecommunications to Tigray cut, and journalists under severe restrictions in Ethiopia, it is difficult to get a clear picture of what is taking place. There are no independent journalists reporting from Eritrea. However, these are some of the latest reports.
- The African Union has (somewhat belatedly) called for a ceasefire and negotiations. “The chairperson (Moussa Faki Mahamat) appeals for the immediate cessation of hostilities and calls on parties to respect human rights and ensure the protection of civilians,” the AU bloc said in a statement, also urging talks.
- Meanwhile, leaders in Tigray have accused Eritrea of sending soldiers over the border and attacking local forces after the federal government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched an offensive against the region last week. In a statement on local TV, Debretsion Gebremichael gave no evidence for what would be a major escalation of the conflict in northern Ethiopia and Reuters was unable to confirm it. “Since yesterday, the army of (Eritrean leader) Isaias (Afwerki) have crossed the country’s boundary and invaded,” he said. “They were attacking via Humera using heavy arms.”
- As Kjetil Tronvoll rightly observed, if confirmed this has internationalised the conflict – turning a civil war into a regional war.
- Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that the end of military operations in Ethiopia’s north is “coming within reach.”
- The Ethiopian National Defence Force spokesman, Lieutenant General Bacha Debele, said that the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) Shene Group was also fighting the federal military forces in support of the Tigray Special Force in areas including Zalanbessa, Shiraro, Rama, Tsorena and other places.
- The BBC’s Africa Regional Editor, Mary Harper reports that the head of Sudan’s refugee agency in Kassala says about 3,000 Ethiopians have fled into Sudan to escape the conflict in Tigray.
- Africa Confidential produced a map of the areas of fighting