Ethiopian Prime Minister said enemy forces were not in a position to resist the offensive. Next plan is to advance to North Wollo.
In his latest string of remarks about the ongoing war, Ethiopian Prime Minister on Monday said the enemy force, a reference to Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) fighters, has suffered heavy casualties.
He was talking about the losses from the battle near Dessie and Kombolcha, cities that TPLF forces controlled at the beginning of last month.
The level of losses on either side was not quantified. Last week, thousands of TPLF forces surrendered in different battle fronts in Wollo, Afar and Shoa following a call to do so by Abiy Ahmed.
The Ethiopian government on Monday officially announced that Ethiopian Defense Forces and regional forces from Afar and Amhara region controlled Dessie and Kombolcha. Unofficial news about government forces retaking both cities came out on Saturday (borkena has received information ) but it was not allowed to publish a report about it before the designated government body gives an official statement about it.
“The enemy was unable to resist the offensive from our forces.” Abiy Ahmed. He added that the victory that we have achieved is a great one – that is why the causalities on enemy side (TPLF terrorists) is a heavy one.
Apart from Dessie and Kombolcha, government forces took control of Bati, to the east of Kombolcha. Degan and Kersa (smaller towns) are also freed from TPLF fighters.
Unofficial news emerging in social media indicates that Haik, an important town about 30 kilometers north of Dessie is freed too.
PM Abiy Ahmed congratulated Ethiopian people for the victory achieved in a short time, as he put it. “We were compelled to enter this war. And we did a great job to ensure that the TPLF force that entered without planning is not leaving,” he added.
The extent of destruction in Dessie and Kombolcha is not yet revealed by the government. From the experiences of other cities that were under TPLF occupation for several weeks, the magnitude of the deliberate destruction, as a sort of scorched-earth policy, is colossal. Towns in Shoa, Wollo and Afar like Debre Sina, Mehal Media, Shewa Robit have been severely ravaged.
Schools, hospitals, banks and telecommunication facilities were among infrastructures targeted by the TPLF forces.
Hundreds of thousands of residents displaced from Dessie and Kombolcha are currently staying in Debre Berhan and Addis Ababa. President Sahlework Zewde on Monday said that they will return to their cities.
The next step for the Ethiopian forces is to clear North Wollo from TPLF forces and march to the TIgray region of Ethiopia, as indicated by the Prime Minister.
The TPLF, through its spokesperson Getachew Reda, is claiming that it did not lose the battle but made a “strategic retreat.”
He wrote on Monday on his social media platforms : “We left North Shoa, kombolcha & Dessie as part of our plan. There was no organized unit to ‘liberate’ these towns and the residents know it & Abiy’s generals know it. Things are going according to our plan. The rest is just circus”
Last week, thousands of TPLF forces surrendered to Ethiopian forces in different battle fronts in the above-mentioned areas.
The question that TPLF is getting, even from supporters who have become skeptical of the latest rhetoric, is why did it pay dearly only to retreat after reaching shoa? The organization is believed to have lost hundreds of thousands of its forces in battles.
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