ADDIS ABEBA – The government of Ethiopia has downplayed the possibility of guerrilla war in the country as it vows to bring leaders of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), who are hiding in mountainous part of the region, to justice.
Federal troops have captured Mekelle city from TPLF forces, and declared the conclusion of law enforcement operation in the region a week ago. The focus now is apprehending top officials of TPLF, who have fled to mountainous area of the region, among other things.
Military officials said late last week that the federal army has encircled Worq Ambha town, where Debretsion Gebremichael, Getachew Reda, Abay Tsehaye, Sibhat Nega and other TPLF leaders, are hiding.
“The current task of the Federal Government mainly includes bringing fugitives to justice, restoring law and order,” the PM office said in a statement on Monday.
The office has also downplayed the possibility of TPLF forces’ launching guerrilla warfare in the region.
The statement said:
“The criminal clique pushed a patently false narrative that its fighters and supporters are battle hardened and well-armed, posing the risk of protracted insurgency in the rugged mountains of Tigray.
“It also claimed that it has managed to undertake strategic retreat with all its capability and regional government apparatus intact.
“The reality is the criminal clique is thoroughly defeated and in disarray, with insignificant capability to mount a protracted insurgency.
“Using lies and anarchy as a political weapon may have worked during the clique’s days of guerrilla warfare,” it said. “But it is a lesson the hardliners within the criminal clique have failed to unlearn”.
In the absence of a legitimate and just cause, sustaining a protracted insurgency is near impossible particularly by a disgruntled and reactionary clique that has few allies inside and outside”.
Meanwhile, the United Nations and aid agencies are pressing for safe access to Tigray, which is home to 6 million people and where 600,000 relied on food aid even before the war.
The prime minister office said, with peace restored, “the protection and security of all our citizens remains an essential priority for the Federal Government”.
The PM office says the government, in collaboration with its humanitarian partners, will return, resettle, and rehabilitate Ethiopian refuges in a short period of time”.
Ethiopia has already signed with the United Nations an agreement to administer aid in areas of Tigray last week.