TPLF spokesperson insinuated that the operation in the northwestern part of the Tigray region of Ethiopia is a priority for his organization – which the Ethiopian parliament designated as terrorist organization. Mr. Getachew blamed Eritrea for it.
A day after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) fighters were forced, based on reports from locals, out of the Kobo area in North Wollo, its spokesperson Getachew Reda attempted to make it acceptable to its support base.
In the video footage from the interview with Tigray TV Getachew is at times seen struggling to stay awake and appears as if he is falling asleep.
Yet, ti took less than three minutes out of a twenty minutes long interview with Tigray TV to explain the retreat from Kobo. Incidentally, he admitted that the TPLF started the third round of the military invasion.
“Our forces did not have the intention to stay there [North Wollo area of Amhara region] indefinitely,” Getachew stated as one of the reasons why TPLF “retreated.”
However, he also said that the area could be taken again “whenever there is a military need to do so.”
The second reason he cited is that the “Theater of operation shifted to Adiabo.” Adiabo is in the North West of the Tigray region of Ethiopia. With that, the spokesperson hinted that Eritrea was the reason behind it. He went to the extent of blaming Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration for “accepting orders from Asmara.”
Last week, The TPLF claimed that Eritrean Airforce carried out an airstrike in the residential area Adi-Daero in the same part of the region but the Ethiopian government said that it had carried out the attack in the same region and that it was directed at a military target, not on residential areas as TPLF claimed. The Ethiopian government was indirectly testifying that it is the Ethiopian Air Force that carried out the attack, not the Eritrean forces.
Getachew Reda also said that the motive behind launching the third round of that attack (and control of the Kobo area) was “to force the Ethiopian government to a negotiating table, on TPLF terms.”
Mike Hammer, U.S. special envoy to the Horn of Africa who stayed in the region, mostly Ethiopia, for nearly two weeks said during an online briefing that TPLF was ready to start the war if the blockade, in his words, was not lifted.
Based on Getachew’s explanation, the strategy to hold Kobo hostage in pursuit of forcing Ethiopia for a peace talk did not work. But it remains a question whether there was a need to take military action to force the Ethiopian government to a negotiation table in view of the fact that the Ethiopian government was working towards the peace talk and announcing readiness for unconditional peace talk when the TPLF launched the war again on August 24.
Another indication that the “withdrawal” from Kobo may not be a TPLF initiative is that there had been reports of intense fighting in the area for more than ten days.
What is clear now, however, is that TPLF is no longer in Kobo. Residents from the area told DW Amharic that about 90 percent of North Wollo is now free from TPLF forces.
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