The latest sign of the Ethiopian government retaking territory it recently is the recapture of the strategic towns of Dessie and Kombolcha from Tigrayan fighters by Ethiopian forces.
Just more than a month ago, forces aligned with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) had taken control of the towns in the Amhara region.
“The historic Dessie city and the trade and industry corridor city, Kombolcha have been freed by the joint gallant security forces,” the government communications service said on Twitter, the latest in a round of territorial gains claimed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration.
Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation quoted Abiy as saying the rebels had sustained “heavy losses and (were) unable to cope with the strike by allied forces”. “The enemy will be hit and the victory will continue,” he said.
In a statement on Sunday, the leader of the TPLF, Debretsion Gebremichael, denied the government was scoring big victories, saying the rebels were making strategic territorial adjustments and remained undefeated.
The conflict which broke out in November 2020, when Abiy sent troops into the northernmost Tigray region to topple the TPLF government, took a sharp turnaround at the end of October when the TPLF claimed to have captured Dessie and Kombolcha.
Abiy said the move came in response to rebel attacks on army camps.
According to United Nations estimates, the fighting has killed thousands of people, displaced more than two million and driven hundreds of thousands into famine-like conditions.