Ethiopia announces end of military operation in Amhara and Afar

Ahram Online , Thursday 23 Dec 2021

The office of Ethiopia’s prime minister announced on Thursday that the military operation it launched in Amhara and Afar has concluded after “meeting its main objectives.”

File Photo: A soldier from the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) looks on in Kombolcha , Ethiopia, on December 11, 2021. AFP

The announcement came in a tweet from the official account of the office of the Ethiopian prime minister.

It also said that Ethiopian army forces on the Eastern Amhara and Afar fronts “have been ordered to remain on guard in the recently liberated areas.”

The office said that the army’s activities on other fronts “will be shared in the future.”

The recently launched operation — ‘National Unity in Diversity’ concluded with main objectives met. ENDF in Eastern Amhara & Afar fronts ordered to remain on guard in the recently liberated areas. The ENDF’s activities on other fronts will be shared in the future. #PMOEthiopia

— Office of the Prime Minister - Ethiopia (@PMEthiopia) December 23, 2021

The government Communication Service head, Legesse Tulu, said Thursday that Ethiopian forces have been ordered to maintain the areas they have won back from the Tigray People's Liberation Force, but not to go further into the Tigray region, according to AP.

"The first phase operation to expel the terrorist group from the areas it invaded has ended with victory. At this moment the enemy's desire and ability (to engage in war) is severely destroyed," said Legesse.

"The government will take further steps to make sure that (the Tigray forces) desire won't arise again in the future. For now, Ethiopian forces are ordered to maintain the areas it has controlled,'' he said.

TPLF Withdrawal

The Ethiopian Army entered Amhara and Afar after pushing the forces of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) out.

The leader of the Tigray’s forces in Ethiopia said on Monday that the fighters outside of the region have been ordered to withdraw and return to the embattled federal state according to AP.

Debretsion Gebremichael — the chairman of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front — in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, proposed an immediate cease-fire to be followed by negotiations.

The Ethiopian federal army and its allies have made strong advances in recent weeks. Major towns and cities in the Amhara and Afar regions have been recaptured by Ethiopian forces, forcing the Tigray’s fighters to retreat further into their region.

A fleet of Armed Drones 

On Tuesday, the New York Times attributed the great change in the fortunes of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiye Ahmed’s forces in the war against the TPLF to a fleet of armed drones recently acquired “from allies in the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere who are determined to keep him in power.”

Furthermore, the US on Wednesday expressed its alarm over Turkey’s drone sales to Ethiopia, citing humanitarian concerns.

The New York Times said that “the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Iran have quietly supplied Ahmed with some of the latest armed drones, even as the United States and African governments were urging a cease-fire and peace talks,” according to two Western diplomats who have been briefed on the crisis.

Human Rights Violations 

The UN on Friday expressed “serious concerns over alleged severe human rights violations and abuses in Ethiopia,” with the UN Human Rights Council agreeing in a vote on Friday to probe these violations according to a statement.

Nada Al-Nashif, the deputy UN human rights chief, noted with concern that the nationwide state of emergency announced on 2 November had led to mass arrests of those believed to be sympathetic to the TPLF.

Thousands of ethnic Tigrayans have been detained, along with more than a dozen journalists and UN staff, she said.

“While some of those arrested over the past six weeks have been released, we estimate that between 5,000 and 7,000 remain detained, including nine UN staff members. Many are detained incommunicado or in unknown locations. This is tantamount to enforced disappearance, and a matter of very grave alarm.”

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