The Ethiopian government announced yesterday Aug 28, that the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) have left Kobo town on the forceful aggression of Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF)’s forces and infiltration of its fighters into the city.
Kobo is a town near the border of the Tigray region located in the South Wollo zone of the Amhara Regional State.
The government said in a statement that the TPLF is attacking Kobo town from the outside using a human wave of forces and is underlying grounds for urban warfare by infiltrating its armed fighters into the town.
“To avoid grave bloodshed of the people, the defense force has left Kobo town and moved back to secure strategic military locations enabling it to defend back,” reads the statement.
The regional TV station Tigray Television also claimed that “Tigrayan Forces have captured the town Kobo in a counteroffensive taken over the past three days. The forces have also captured Gugudo, Fokisa, Zobl, Mendefera, Robit, Shiwoch Mariam, and Tuklosh”.
An armed conflict erupted again this month between the Ethiopian government and TPLF after five months of a humanitarian truce.
A report of extensive fighting emerged between the belligerents on Aug 24 at the Southern Tigray, though both parties pointed at each other for provoking the attack and vowed to resist back.
Following the news of the resumed engagement, ENDF claimed shooting down an airplane that it believed was transporting weapons to the rebels trespassing the Ethiopian air space.
In response to the government’s allegation, Tigray External Affairs Office issued a statement denying any airplane’s entrance into Tigray and noted, “If history is any guide, the Abiy regime is laying the groundwork for aerial assaults on Tigray”.
After two days, on Aug 26, Tigray Television came up with breaking news at noon that the Ethiopian Air Force conducted an airstrike in Mekele town, the capital of the Tigray Region, and targeted civilians.
The news was broadcast with a live video feed showing gruesome footage of dead bodies including children. Two hours after the news of the airstrike, the government released an urgent notice that it would take action on TPLF’s military facilities and warned residents of the Tigray region to stay away from such areas.
The government’s spokesperson Legesse Tulu dismissed the news of civilian casualties as “lies and fabricated drama” and condemned the TPLF for “dumping body bags”.
It is after two days the WFP accused TPLF of stealing half a million liters of fuel meant for humanitarian transportation on Aug 25 that the report of TPLF’s advance on Kobo town is heard. The distance between the Tigray region’s capital, Mekele, and Kobo town is about 207 Km.