Ethiopia spokesman said on Sunday that they will “use tanks, artillery” to capture the city of Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray region, from TPLF forces.
In the beginning of November, fighting erupted between the Ethiopian federal government and the rebel TPLF party, which maintains de facto control of the Tigray region in the north. On 21 November, the government announced that they had taken control of the town of Adigrat in the region, and were now heading to Mekelle.
“The next phases are the decisive part of the operation, which is to encircle Mekelle using tanks, finishing the battle in the mountainous areas and advancing to the fields,” military spokesman Colonel Dejene Tsegaye told the state-run Ethiopia Broadcasting Corporation, as quoted by Reuters.
The Ethiopian military warned civilians about the possible use of artillery on the city.
Adigrat is located 116 km north of Mekelle and 898 km north of the country’s capital Addis Abada. The current position of the forces was hard to verify due to severed internet and phone lines, Reuters said earlier.
Just a day before, the Ethiopia State of Emergency Fact Check, a government agency, said on their Facebook page that the country’s defence forces were now marching on Mekelle after capturing Adigrat.
The federal government has been pushing the military further into the Tigray region, which is under the de facto rule of the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front), which state officials describe as a “military junta”.