Statement on the Abiy and Isaias regimes’ aerial terrorism and contempt for peace
It’s been over a month since the genocidal Abiy and Isaias regimes and their Amhara regional partners launched a coordinated, multi-pronged offensive against Tigray, with the Eritrean regime mobilizing its entire army and reserve force to invade Tigray. The Eritrean regime’s full-scale invasion came, just as it did before, at the behest of the Abiy regime. The Abiy regime had previously moved the entire Eastern Command of the Ethiopian army to Eritrea from which it would go on to launch attacks on Tigray in collaboration with the Eritrean army. It had also been using Ethiopian Airlines to transport personnel and weapons to Eritrea as it prepared for a final assault on Tigray. Abiy’s treasonous assault on the people of Tigray in collaboration with a foreign enemy will be his most consequential legacy.
Under extraordinarily challenging circumstances, with our enemies encircling Tigray in all directions, Tigray Army is heroically and determinedly defending against this assault, and scoring a series of smashing victories on the battlefield. Unlike the genocidal forces, Tigray Army is fighting not for land and glory but to protect its people against a threat to their survival.
Having been stymied by Tigray forces’ determined resistance, these genocidal partners have resorted to that which they are best at: terrorizing and murdering innocent civilians through indiscriminate aerial bombardments and artillery shelling of civilian targets. The latest episode of aerial terrorism took place in Adi-Daero located in North-Western Tigray. On September 27, 2022, the invading Isaias regime’s air force dropped bombs on a residential neighborhood, killing a number of civilians, injuring scores more and reducing residential homes to ashes. The Abiy regime invited a foreign enemy to brutalize the people of Tigray and this foreign enemy has been all too happy to comply.
In fact, on the day of the Adi-Daero massacre, the Abiy regime had bombed Shire city in addition to previous drone strikes on the city, targeting civilians. Furthermore, on this day, the genocidal Isaias regime shelled Adigrat town with heavy artillery, killing several civilians and wounding scores more. The Isaias regime had also shelled Adigrat previously, murdering a number of civilians and wounding many more. The Isaias regime’s previous shelling of Sheraro town with heavy artillery had also resulted in numerous civilians being killed, wounded, and residential homes being destroyed.
As we warned the international community in a statement issued on August 24, 2022, the Abiy regime was preparing for aerial assaults on civilians across Tigray following coordinated lies about a plane they allegedly shot down while allegedly entering Tigray from the Sudan. This blatant lie was designed to manufacture a faux casus belli to intensify their genocidal assault on Tigray.
As we predicted, on August 26, 2022, the regime followed through on this thinly-disguised threat by murdering innocent children and adults when it dropped bombs on a building complex housing a kindergarten and a children’s playground in Mekelle. The Abiy regime has since used its drones to attack civilian targets across Tigray, such as when it bombed a residential area in Mekelle on September 15, which killed over 10 people, wounded scores more, and destroyed civilian homes.
Exacerbating the Tigrayan people’s pain and suffering is the international community’s willful indifference to these attacks and consequent failure to hold these sadistic regimes accountable for their flagrant criminality. Tired rhetoric, urging “all sides” to cease hostilities is dangerous. Only one side—the Abiy regime along with its domestic and foreign partners—is standing in the way of peace. It is, thus, no surprise that these regimes have ramped up their genocidal assault on Tigray. After all, impunity breeds further criminality. Sadly, the international community continues to treat the invaders’ barbarity as an intrinsic feature of conflict rather than as part of their premeditated plan to exterminate the people of Tigray.
Nevertheless, even at this critical juncture, the Government of Tigray remains committed to an immediate, negotiated cessation of hostilities to be followed by a permanent ceasefire and political dialogue. Rather than reciprocating our September 11 announcement to that effect, the Abiy regime and its allies launched massive offensives in an elusive quest for a “position of strength” to be leveraged in peace tasks. But if engagements over the past few weeks and our enemies’ staggering battlefield losses have proven anything, it is that our enemies cannot subjugate us.
The people of Tigray are fighting to preserve their right of self-determination and ensure their survival as a people. Insofar as a peaceful path helps us achieve these aims, the people of Tigray have no desire to shed an ounce of blood nor prolong this conflict even for a day. We call on the international community to get the Abiy regime to take concrete steps towards peace. Failing that, the people of Tigray will continue to exercise their legitimate right of self-defense.
September 29, 2022