Ethiopia: fighting resumes in the Tigray region, after five months of truce

Fighting resumed on Wednesday August 24 in northern Ethiopia, in border areas of the Tigray region, between Tigrayan rebels and the federal government. The WHO denounced the situation in the region less than a week ago as being “the worst disaster in the world”. The two camps reject the responsibility for having broken a truce observed for five months. The rebel authorities accused the Ethiopian army of carrying out a “full-scale offensive” against their positions.

“Disregarding the many peace offers presented by the Ethiopian government”the Tigrayan forces “launched an attack today at 5 a.m.” (4 hours in Paris) and “have broken the truce”, the government replied in a statement. The region is largely cut off from the rest of the country and it is impossible to independently verify these claims.

Call for “de-escalation”

These fights are the first of a magnitude reported since a truce concluded at the end of March and so far largely respected, which had notably allowed a gradual resumption of humanitarian aid to the region, plunged into conditions close to famine. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said “deeply shocked and saddened” by the resumption of violence and called “firmly to the immediate cessation of hostilities and the resumption of peace negotiations”.

The United States has also advocated a “sustainable ceasefire without conditions”. The African Union, which has been working for months to bring the belligerents to the negotiating table, has called for a “de-escalation” and reaffirmed “its commitment to work with the parties to support a consensual political process in the interest of the country”.

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