Ethiopian forces will not continue to march to the Tigray region for now but the operation against Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)- Shane group will continue in central, western and south western Ethiopia
The Ethiopian government on Thursday announced that the Defence Forces are ordered to halt advancing to the Tigray region of Ethiopia to which the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces retreated to after devastating military losses in the Afar and Amhara regions of Ethiopia.
Minister for Government Communication Service, Legesse Tullu, told journalists in the capital Addis Ababa that “the first phase of operation for multinational national unity is completed.”
The Defence Force, Afar region special forces, Amhara region special forces and militia are given orders to remain in their military positions, according to the Minister. Unspecified as to how long Ethiopian Forces will remain in their current holdings.
The decision has triggered speculation and discussion among Ethiopians on social media platforms. Some say there could be political or military considerations or both for the decision.
Others Vehemently expressed opposition to the decision saying that it will give TPLF forces in the Tigray region to reorganise again and start launching an offensive in the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions.
Mr. Legesse said government decisions are informed by different factors which he did not specify. He, however, recalled the experiences of the Defence Force in the Tigray region where TPLF leaders exploited children and elders who were told to lie on the ground so as to obstruct the mobility of the Defence Force, for operational duties.
The defence was obstructed not to withdraw from the region and finally attacked by the TPLF forces in November 2020 – a TPLF action that triggered the war.
Furthermore, Mr. Legesse recalled that elders in the Tigray region preferred silence rather than condemning the attack on the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defence Force.
Not just that. The minister officially disclosed what happened after the Ethiopian Defence Force was forced to engage in a law enforcement operation.
“Initially, there was cooperation with the defence force. But later the Defense Force was attacked from the back in the region,” he added.
The order from the Ethiopian Defence Force not to advance to the Tigray region is informed by the need to avoid similar situation, according to Mr. Legesse.
There seems to be more to the decision. The government wants to avoid engaging with TPLF leaders’ political plots.
This week, unconfirmed reports on social media said the TPLF has transported tens of thousands of dead bodies of its fighters from the battles it lost in Afar and Amhara region.
TPLF’s action came after the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution to establish international experts to investigate rights abuse.
Meanwhile, the Ethiopian government announced that operations against the Oromo Liberation Front -Shane group will continue. A few months ago, OLF-Shane and TPLF reached military partnership with the aim to march to the capital Addis Ababa – something that ended in fiasco despite support from western backers in the form of hybrid war.
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