Africa File

A biweekly analysis and assessment of the Salafi-jihadi movement in Africa and related security and political dynamics.   Each edition begins "At a Glance." Country-specific updates follow.

Ethiopia Crisis Update: Ethiopian federal forces capture Tigray regional capital

[Notice: The Critical Threats Project frequently cites sources from foreign domains. All such links are identified with an asterisk (*) for the reader's awareness.]

The Ethiopian government claimed a major victory in the country’s northern Tigray region. Ethiopian federal forces captured the Tigray region’s capital, Mekelle, on November 28 and now control Mekelle’s airport and other key facilities. The takeover follows the November 25 expiration of an ultimatum issued by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Fighting between government and TPLF forces continues as of November 30. TPLF leadership promised to fight federal forces following its withdrawal from Mekelle. The TPLF’s leadership has moved west of the city according to Abiy, who claimed government forces are monitoring TPLF leaders and will attack them soon.

The Ethiopian government’s seizure of Mekelle will not end the conflict. The TPLF will likely wage an insurgency in a bid to recapture Mekelle and prevent federal and allied forces from controlling Tigray. TPLF forces may target towns and roadways en route to Mekelle in an attempt to isolate the anti-TPLF forces holding the city. The TPLF claimed to recapture Axum, a town previously captured by federal forces moving eastward toward Mekelle, on November 29. The TPLF will also likely continue to target Eritrea, which backs Abiy’s government. Likely TPLF forces fired rockets or missiles at the Eritrean capital on November 28, the same day Ethiopian troops captured Mekelle.

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