By Yaseen Awad –
On Saturday morning the State Department said it is “Gravely concerned by the expansion of combat in northern Ethiopia. We reiterate our call for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to withdraw from the Amhara and Afar regions, including halting its advances in and around the cities of Dessie and Kombolcha.”
Tigrayan forces said on Saturday that they had seized the strategic town of Dessie in Ethiopia’s Amhara region where tens of thousands of people have sought refuge from an escalation in the conflict. Getachew Reda, spokesperson for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), says that Tigrayan fighters pushed government forces from Dessie and were headed towards the town of Kombolcha. He added the fighters captured numerous Ethiopian soldiers.
One resident of Dessie said the town had no power and that the federal army had left. They said they had heard Tigrayan fighters were in town but had not seen them.
War broke out nearly a year ago between federal troops and the TPLF. Thousands of people have been killed and more than 2 million people have been forced to flee.
The State Department says “There is no military solution to this conflict, and all parties must begin ceasefire negotiations without preconditions.”