- Ethiopian army chief says country shot down a plane carrying weapons destined for rebel groups
Tigray rebels have seized control of Kobo, a town located in the Amhara region along the main highway, 50 km from Woldia and 410 km from Bahir Dar.
The Ethiopian Government Communication Service announced that “in order to avoid bloodshed among the civilian population”, the federal troops have left the town of Kobo.
In a statement released on Saturday, the Tigrayan forces announced that they had taken control of Kobo after mounting a “counter-attack operation”.
The government communication statement stated that TPLF had attacked the town of Kobo from “multiple directions, creating conditions so that fighting would take place in the town in a way that would endanger the safety of the people.”As a result, it said, “federal forces were forced to leave Kobo town and retreat to take possession of the military posts that could be easily defended.”
The Tigrayan forces on their part said that they had captured the villages of Gugudo, Fokisa, Zobel, Mendefera, Robit, Shewotch Mariam, Tekolush, and the town of Kobo after they counter-attacked in force, inflicting severe defeats on federal force divisions.
Meanwhile authorities in Woldia and Dessie – the two major Amhara towns near the area – have imposed partial night-time curfews.
In March, a truce was agreed upon to avoid bloodshed and allow aid convoys to return to Tigray, where millions are said to be severely hungry, and fuel and medicine are in short supply. Both sides denied firing the first shot and each blamed the other for restarting hostilities. “Ignoring all of the peace alternatives presented by the government, the terrorist group TPLF continued its recent provocations and launched an attack,” the Ethiopian government said. “They officially violated the ceasefire.”
Chief of General Staff of the Ethiopian National Defense Force Birhanu Jula also blamed TPLF for the resumption of conflict. In an interview with the satellite TV channel, Ethiopian Media Service (EMS), he said that the government forces had no interest in moving towards positions in Tigray, and did not budge an inch from their bases. He said the Ethiopian Air Force shot down a plane carrying weapons belonging to historical enemies of our country.
However, the TPLF blamed the regime for the offensive, saying the Ethiopian forces and fighters from Amhara began “an extensive offensive” on Wednesday in a “flagrant violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement” that had been in place for months.
The severe fighting forced thousands to flee on foot for larger towns in the Amhara region due to the suspension of transport services, BBC Amharic reported.