Tigray Emergency Situation Report from within Tigray

Military Invasion

It has been a month since the Ethiopian Defence Forces, Eritrean Defence Forces, Amhara Special Forces, Amhara Militia, Fano Amhara Youth Vigilantes and regional special forces of the remaining constituent members of the Ethiopian federation – here in after the invading army – have launched military attack on Tigray.

On December 1, 2020 the invading army launched an offensive, supported with heavy artillery from three directions in Hawzen – Megab, Mekelle – Allasa and from the direction of Samre at Dangolat and was effectively defeated by the Tigray Defensive Forces .

The invading forces conducted drone ( Unmanned Arial Vehicle) attacks in the town of Abiyi Adi, Tembain that impacted civil installations and public infrastructures. It must be highlighted that there are currently no military installations in this town nor is it an active war zone.

The invading army has been using human waves, most popular during the first world war and has suffered tremendous casualties. TDF have taken over nearly 15,000 prisoners of war, most of whom have been handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) The TDF took every precautions to avoid civilian casualties like vacating major towns, including the capital, to avoid civilian casualties and the destruction of property.

Tigray regional government has managed to undertake strategic retreat with all its military, government and party structures in tact. TDF has been on a defensive mode for the past month, in this new phase of the war, TDF will be taking offensives to leverage its land and people. At this point, the invading army is encountering low scale warfare all over Tigray until a full scale offensive is taken in the near future. The TDF will mount a full scale operation of liberating the territories currently under occupation.

The Eritrean forces are establishing government structures in the occupied Tigrayan territories particularly in the vast territory of Adiabo areas bordering Eritrea. Similarly, the Amhara regional state is doing the same in the occupied Western and Southern part of Tigray and the settlement of Amharas so as to change the demographic structure of the area. In the past, the Amhara regional state has claimed such territory as belonging to the state but was not able to establish the legal prerequisite for a referendum, one of which was a signed petition from interested residents to trigger such a proceeding.

We would like to highlight that the attack by the invading forces on Tigray is an offense against the values of the federation which grants nations and nationalities the right of self governance. It must therefore be noted that this is an attack on the strongest defender of the value of self determination and will be destructive for the unity and stability of the nation.

Humanitarian and refugee crisis

The Tigray regional government is greatly concerned by reports coming out that the Abiy regime is blocking refugees traveling in the hopes of shelter in Sudan. This was not done only to prevent the refugees from receiving aid but also as a way of refusing the people the opportunity to tell their stories and refute the false and irresponsible narratives coming out of the Abiy regime and an attempted cover up of the gruesome atrocities the Abiy regime is committing in occupied territories.

The Tigray government is appreciative of the European Unions insistence on urging for a humanitarian corridor and a political resolution on the crisis. The Tigray government had been urging for an all inclusive dialogue that comprehensively addresses the nations problems. The capture of major cities in Tigray has been preceded by the evacuation of many of the residents fleeing indiscriminate heavy artillery attacks and horror committed by the invading army.

The shutting down of telecommunication in the state by the Abiy regime has further emboldened the invading forces to commit war crimes of great proportion.

A special militia from Eritrea, currently occupying and attempting to annex Adiabo in the norther parts of the national regional state of Tigrai, are committing especially atrocious crimes. The militia’s lack of affinity with the neighboring areas has made the crimes exceptionally cruel and is sure to leave a memorable scar in the relations between the people of Tigray and Eritrea. We ask that the international community in no uncertain terms condemn the participation of Eritrea in this conflict. This journey of vengeance by the Isaias regime will further impoverish the Eritrean people and can only be understood as an act of suicide.

Residents of the state including refugee camps are currently running out of food, medicine and other essential items. The closing of banking systems and other basic services is sure to lead to urban starvation making it clear to the people of Tigray and the international community that this is a war of attrition on the people of Tigray and aims to weaken the state and its people on all fronts.

Similarly, refugees housed in the regional state have also suffered the blunt of the on going conflict. Shimelba, Histats and May Kuhli refugee camps have been attacked by the invading forces followed by looting, killing, kidnapping and forceful arming of refugees. These acts were committed in violation of the protections granted to refugees by international law. The regional state pledges to do its part to support the resettlement of the refugees in the shortest period.

The Tigray government has formally requested for the opening of a humanitarian and press corridor into the regional state so as to reduce the suffering of its residents; a request the Abiy regime has so far denied. We urge the international community to insist on human rights monitors to be deployed to the state to reduce the chances of further humanitarian abuses by the invading forces and the establishment of an independent investigation into crimes committed in Mai Kahdra, Zalambess, Hawzen, Adamayti, Humera and other major cities.

We believe the denial by the Abiy regime for access to a humanitarian corridor is a testament of the disregard the Abiy regime has shown for the protection of civilians throughout this conflict.

(Written by Wondimu Asamanew Director General Tigray Friendship Liaison Office Mekelle, Tigray)

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