Ethiopia PM vows to repel ‘enemies’ after Tigray rebel assault

Written by on July 14, 2021

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday vowed to repel attacks by Ethiopia’s “enemies” after rebels in Tigray launched a fresh offensive to regain territory in the war-torn region.

Tigrayan forces this week claimed a series of battlefield gains in a renewed assault that comes two weeks after the federal government declared a unilateral ceasefire in the face of rebel advances.

The latest rebel push followed the stunning recapture of the regional capital Mekele last month from federal forces, a turning point in a brutal eight-month conflict that has killed thousands of people and left many hundreds of thousands facing famine.

Abiy said he remained committed to peace — even if it came at a “cost” — but these latest attacks would not go unanswered.

“We will defend and repel these attacks by our internal and external enemies, while working to speed up humanitarian efforts,” he said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Abiy, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, sent troops into Tigray last November after accusing the region’s once-dominant ruling party of orchestrating attacks on Ethiopian military bases.

He said Ethiopia had demonstrated its willingness to end hostilities in the mountainous northern region.

“We’ve undertaken a unilateral ceasefire to avoid further conflict, to provide the people with a reprieve during the farming season, and to allow aid operations to proceed without excuse,” he said.

“Even though we knew peace would exact some cost on us, we have taken the peaceful option.”

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