Afar region accuses TPLF of mounting attacks for control of the Ethio-Djibouti highway

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Rebels from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have mounted attacks around the town of Serdo in the Afar region in a fight for control of the highway linking Ethiopia to Djibouti, the Afar region officials said.

Ahmed Kaloyta, a spokesman for the Afar region, said that fighting has intensified last week following attacks by the TPLF forces on the border between the Afar and Tigray regions. TPLF captured five different woredas in the Kilbeti Resu zone and the towns of Ab’ala, Magale, Koneba, Berhale, according to the spokesman.

Ahmed said that the TPLF’s current attack employing heavy artillery was aimed at “capturing Sardo and using the Ethio-Djibouti highway as a bargaining chip in its dealing with the central government.”

Officials in the Afar region have stated that civilians had been killed by rebel shells and others had been severely wounded, prompting many of the residents to flee the region. There were no federal forces in the area to prevent the attacks, they said. The Afar region communications bureau said that the regional forces had fought hard to stop the accelerating TPLF advance, but were unable to due to lack of federal forces support. The region accused the TPLF forces of “carrying out massacres and looting in the Berhale and Konba districts.”

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