Ethiopia says town captured in Tigray

Giulia Paravicini
·1-min read

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government says it has captured another town in the northern Tigray region after nearly two weeks of fighting in a conflict already spilling into Eritrea and destabilising the wider Horn of Africa.

Hundreds have died, at least 20,000 refugees have fled to Sudan and there have been reports of atrocities since Abiy ordered air strikes and a ground offensive against Tigray's rulers for defying his authority.

The conflict could jeopardise a recent economic opening, stir up ethnic bloodshed elsewhere around Africa's second most populous nation, and tarnish the reputation of Abiy who won a Nobel Peace Prize last year for a peace pact with Eritrea.

The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which governs the region of more than five million people, has accused Eritrea of sending tanks and thousands of soldiers over the border to support Ethiopian federal troops. Asmara denies that.

Tigray forces fired rockets into Eritrea at the weekend.

A task force set up by Abiy, Africa's youngest leader, to manage the conflict said federal troops had "liberated" the town of Alamata from the TPLF.

"They fled, taking along around 10,000 prisoners," it added, without specifying where those were from.

"Residents say many youth above the age of 14 had already fled the area for fear of being recruited by TPLF."

With communications mainly down and media barred, Reuters could not independently verify assertions made by all sides.

There was no immediate comment from Tigray's leaders on events in Alamata, near the border with Amhara regional state, about 120km from Tigray's capital Mekelle.