Final operation underway a day after deadline for the TPLF forces surrendering to the Ethiopian Defense Forces expired
November 17, 2020
Ethiopian Defense Force launched what is said to be the final military offensive against Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces on Tuesday.
The operation came a day after the deadline given to the TPLF forces surrendering to the Ethiopian Defense Force came to an end. On Monday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wrote a message on his Facebook page saying that the three days deadline was given to Tigray special forces and militia “surrender to the defense force rather than being a tool for the greedy junta.”
He added, “the next and final operation to enforce the rule of law will continue.”
Ethiopia State of Emergency Task Force, a body formed following the declaration of six months state of emergency in Tigray, announced on Tuesday that the Ethiopian Defense Force achieved decisive victories in the eastern front.
It said key places like Chercher and Gugufto Mehoni came under the control of EDF. Fortified trenches, which were said to be constructed by TPLF owned construction companies like Sur Construction, are destroyed, according to the task force.
In the western front, Adi Nebrid and Adi Daero — which also had a fortified concrete trench — are also destroyed and the town of Shire came under the control of Ethiopian forces who were reportedly marching towards the historic city of Aksum, one of the main tourist attractions in Ethiopia.
Hundreds of Tigray special forces and militia were captured during the battles on both fronts, and the remaining retreated towards Mekelle.
The report from the task force added that TPLF forces are employing a scorched earth strategy to check the advancing Ethiopian forces. Four bridges leading to Mekelle city are reportedly detonated. In areas where there is no bridge, TPLF forces used excavators to turn roads into big holes.
There is an anticipation that Mekelle city would come under the control of the Defense Force in a matter of days, according to state media which cite sources in the Defense Force.
Some analysts fear that TPLF forces would resort to urban guerrilla warfare and deepen its scorched earth policy to create hateful sentiment towards Ethiopian forces. It was TPLF’s attack on the Northern Command on November 4 (several hundreds of members of the defense force were reportedly massacred) that triggered the war.
TPLF did not remark about the Ethiopian government’s decisive victories on the eastern and western fronts.
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