In a series of wins by the Ethiopian government, government troops have managed to recapture, in the last two weeks, cities that had fallen to the TPLF in attacks over the last month. This has happened since Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy made and announcement that he, an ex-soldier, would join his troops on the frontline to bolster the efforts to unify the recapture process, as well as serve as a drum major to his troops. Towns in the Amhara, such as Chifra in the Afar region, were liberated around December 1st. they also recaptured the village of Gragne Amba, a UN World Heritage site, famous for being home to rock hewn churches. A villager from there said “I thought they were joking and TPLF fighters said, ‘Many of Abiy’s soldiers are coming’. This morning we saw Amhara Special Forces. They told us they are here for us and they tried to comfort us.” After freeing the villages around Lalibela, the troops managed to free Lalibela town itself, which has been confirmed by UNESCO. The towns of Dessie and Kombolcha, which the TPLF rebels had taken over in November, have been recaptured by Ethiopian troops, according to unconfirmed reports.
Prime Minister Abiy has rallied his troops, praising their efforts to recapture towns that had fallen to the rebel forces. “The East Command secured an unimaginable victory in just one day of planning and a day and half of long fighting. Now we repeat that victory in this front. The enemy is defeated. Our remaining task is to rout the enemy and destroy them. Tigrayan youth are falling like leaves. They should know that that they have been defeated and surrender starting today”, he said in an address to the troops, on the frontline of the conflict, near Gashena in Amhara.
In South Africa, not far from the DHPI offices on Monday 29 November, members of the Ethiopian diaspora loyal to Prime Minister Abiy marched in Pretoria, calling for the fall of the TPLF and a restoration of law and order. The march saw dozens of people walking down the main thoroughfare in the city, waving flags and singing songs in local Ethiopian languages. The marchers emphasized that they understand why the TPLF would feel aggrieved about the lack of representation in the central government, however, that did not give them the right to disrupt the entire country in an effort to effect what is in actuality a coup attempt. This writer was able to get a few images from her vehicle of the marchers, as well as the traffic pile-up created by their march.
Photo’s Above: Pro-government marchers in Pretoria, South Africa, with a show of solidarity for the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s efforts to stop the advance of the TPLF
In a dress-down, Addis Ababa has accused the United States of “perpetuating a destructive narrative”, following a warning report by Washington to its allies that Ethiopia is unlawfully detaining citizens on ethnic grounds. On Monday, the US released a statement in which they stated Washington is “profoundly concerned by recent reports of the Ethiopian government’s detention of large numbers of Ethiopian citizens on the basis of their ethnicity and without charge. Individuals are being arrested and detained without charges or a court hearing and are reportedly being in inhumane conditions. Many of these acts likely constitute violations of international law and must cease immediately”. This is in response to reports that have filtered out of Ethiopia in the past few months, some of which have been reported her in our country updates, of native Tigrayans being spirited away to detention unlawfully, being tortured, held without charge or trial, with some detainees being released unceremoniously and some just disappearing, presumably dead. In a response, the Prime Ministers spokeswoman Billene Seyoum told a news conference on this past Tuesday that the government’s efforts do not target “any particular group of people based on their ethnic identity. Insinuating in that regard is misguided, it’s not only misguided but it’s also perpetuating a destructive narrative. [the detentions are] based on credible evidence and testimony”.
With the recapture of strategic towns, Prime Minister Abiy has announced, on Wednesday might, that he is returning to Addis Ababa, to consolidate the troop’s advances. “Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed Ali momentarily back to the office following successful completion of ‘Operation for National Unity in Diversity’”, according to a tweet on his official Twitter page.