Ethiopia predicted Wednesday it would soon defeat the Tigray People's Liberation Front in the country’s northern region while the TPLF maintained it had secured military victories in a two-week war that threatened to further destabilize the Horn of Africa.
Army chief Berhanu Jula said Ethiopian forces were approaching Tigray’s capital of Mekelle and “winning on all fronts.”
But Tigrayan leader Debretsion Gebremichael said his forces were “inflicting heavy defeats on all fronts against the forces that came to attack us” and have turned Tigray into “a hell to its enemies.”
The war has killed hundreds of people and forced some 30,000 more to flee to neighboring Sudan. It is also testing the ability of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Africa’s youngest leader at age 44, to maintain unity among the country’s fractious ethnic groups.
Calls to end the violence have escalated since civilians caught up in the conflict fled to Sudan. The United Nations warned on Tuesday that a “humanitarian disaster is unfolding.”
Abiy initiated a military campaign against the Tigray region on Nov. 4 after accusing the TPLF of attacking federal troops in the area.
Federal forces have since escalated the offensive, prompting more intense fighting in the region.