Home LATEST NEWS Tigrayan rebels recapture Lalibela in northern Ethiopia

Tigrayan rebels recapture Lalibela in northern Ethiopia

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Residents contacted on Sunday afternoon said fighters from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) entered the town in the Amhara region.

They are in the city center, there was no fighting, said one resident. Another said: they came back. They are already there.

Sunday evening, the Tigrai-TV channel, linked to Front for the Liberation of the People of Tigray, announced that the Tigrayan troops took Lalibela airport and Lalibela town, as well as Gashena, a locality located about sixty kilometers to the south.

Communications are cut off in combat zones and journalists’ access is restricted, making it difficult to independently verify positions on the ground.

1er December, the government announced that it had taken over Lalibela, a town famous for its monolithic churches which had come under rebel control in August.

L’France Media Agency visited the town last week, when it was secured by Amhara Special Forces and Amhara Fano militia fighters.

According to the second witness interviewed on Sunday, these pro-government forces have moved south towards Gashena, where fighting has been reported in recent days.

Earlier today Sunday, a statement from the military leadership of the Front for the Liberation of the People of Tigray announced that his fighters had carried out comprehensive counter-offensives at several points, notably along the road from Lalibela to Gashena.

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Our forces first defended and then led counter-offensives against the enormous force attacking the Gashena front and the surrounding areas and managed to achieve a glorious and unexpected victory., adds the press release.

In Lalibela on Sunday, most people are afraid, said one of the residents interviewed. Some run away. Most people have already left because there might be some revenge. We expressed our happiness when [le Front de libération du peuple du Tigré] left.

The government has been carrying out a counteroffensive to regain ground from the rebels, whom he has been fighting for more than a year in northern Ethiopia.

One year of war

War erupted in November 2020 after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent the army to the northern region of Tigray to remove local authorities from the region. Front for the Liberation of the People of Tigray, who challenged his authority and accused him of attacking military bases.

Abiy Ahmed proclaimed victory three weeks later, after the capture of the regional capital, Mekele. But in June, the Front for the Liberation of the People of Tigray took back most of Tigray, then advanced into the neighboring regions of Afar and Amhara, where they claimed in early November to have captured the towns of Dessie and Kombolcha, a strategic crossroads on the road leading to the Ethiopian capital.

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On November 25, Abiy Ahmed announced that he was going to the front lines in person to lead the counteroffensive. Since then, the government has announced that it has regained ground, including Dessie and Kombolcha. the Front for the Liberation of the People of Tigray asserts, him, not to have been defeated militarily, but to have operated strategic withdrawals.

Returned to Addis Ababa on Wednesday, Abiy Ahmed returned to the front lines, the Prime Minister’s office announced in a tweet on Saturday evening.

The government also claimed to have taken over several areas of Afar and Amhara. He announced in particular to have cut the main highway between the towns of Woldiya and Mekele.

More than 13 months of conflict ravaged northern Ethiopia, plunging 9.4 million people in critical food assistance situation, according to’United Nations Organization.

L’United Nations Organization estimates that 5.2 million people are in need of emergency food aid in Tigray, 3.7 million in Amhara and 534,000 in Afar.

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