The Ethiopian government said it will be obliged to take defensive measures against Tigrayan forces and imperativeness of taking immediate control of all airports, other federal facilities, and installations in the region.
“This is necessary to protect Ethiopia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, particularly as it relates to its airspace. This will enable the Government to expedite humanitarian aid to people in need.”
Amid the government’s statement of defensive measures, unverified reports have emerged that the Ethiopian forces have controlled Shire, one of the largest towns in Tigray.
The Ethiopian government issued the statement following the call from the Africa Union (AU) Chairperson yesterday for an immediate, unconditional ceasefire urging the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) and the government to recommit to dialogue as per their agreement.
On Oct 1, the AU chairperson invited the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) Chairman, Debretsion Gebremichael (Ph.D.), to the peace talk within the ongoing AU-led peace process which was scheduled to be held in South Africa on Oct 8. Both parties welcomed the invitation.
However, the proposed peace talk was reported to be delayed for logistical reasons clouding the commencement of actual negotiation between the two sides.
In the wake of the resumed conflict in August, the belligerents accused each other of provoking the conflict.
The TPLF repeatedly blamed the federal and the Eritrean government for opening a full-scale and highly coordinated offensive on Tigray to the extent of calling upon the Security Council to forcefully intervene towards a peaceful end.
The Ethiopian government in its latest statement blamed the TPLF for a massive attack preceded by “repeated and grave violations of Ethiopia's airspace by hostile foreign actors supporting the TPLF”, against which it vowed to take military measures.
“The Government of Ethiopia is thus forced to take defensive measures to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. These measures are necessitated not only by the repeated attacks of the TPLF but also by its active collusion with these hostile foreign powers.”
As the government announced it assumes immediate control of all airports, other federal facilities, and installations in Tigray, it said to avoid combat operations within urban areas to prevent civilian causalities.
“Given the TPLF's established practice of using civilians as a human shield and civilian facilities for military purposes, the Government of Ethiopia reiterates its call for civilians and humanitarian operators to distance themselves from TPLF's military assets.”
Expressing its readiness to the AU Chairperson’s immediate ceasefire calls, TPLF implored the international community to ensure the cessation of hostilities or “help the people of Tigray defend themselves”.
“If neither path is followed, the people of Tigray will continue to fight to ensure their survival, for they will never allow themselves to be ruled against their will. Without peace in Tigray, there can never be peace in Ethiopia,” TPLF said in a statement.
The next month of November marks the second year since the war broke out in Tigray on Nov 3, when Tigrayan forces were alleged to attack the national defense forces' Northern Command bases in the Tigray Region.