A 70 hour countdown edges to its end as Ethiopian troops prepare for one last TPLF stronghold and the state city Mekelle

Ethiopian PM Abey Ahmed has given TPLF fighters a 70 hour countdown before he ends his rule of law military operations at Tigray’s last stronghold, Mekele. PM’s Sting warning came at a crucial moment when Ethiopian military had already advanced to almost all of TPLF administered territories. The fierce fighting has entered into its third week now with many fatalities being reported by independent media. thousands have already fled to the neighboring Sudan and millions are stuck in no-go area of the Tigray region. Despite the power blackout and communication disruptions, PM Abey is still insisting that his primary aim is to end the TPLF administration in the region. 

in a letter he posted on his Twitter page,  Abey clearly outlined a 3 successive phases of operation – – and while two of the war phases have already been put in a a place- – the third phase would decide the fate of his target and mission in what experts believe could be his biggest challenge of his time which is necessarily overcoming a vibrant region and a war against his own people. 

TPLF fighters are still at large in many places of the Tigray region but they seem to be more vulnerable to arial and land bombardment of the Ethiopian jet fighters. Early this week, the Ethiopian military had confirmed that they hit several TPLF target areas near the capital Mekelle. conflicting sources also suggest that the Ethiopian warplanes targeted religious and famous tourist sites in northern provinces rising a growing concern among others the UN, African and European Union. The pressure from the international community is increasingly mounting on Abey’s stance on the war. The Ethiopian government is still reluctant to open mediation to TPLF leaders despite demands from the international community and the African Union claiming the war will only be put to an end once the region is cleared out of the TPLF warlords. 

Abey has been struggling to bring his people together ever since he took over the office in late 2017. His first task was to settle a decade-long Oromo protests, reshuffle his cabinets, hold previous war criminals accountable and bring peace to the country and its neighbours. However as the prospect of his plans shift towards a more disastrous and bloody path, what we think of happening next is to invade one of TPLF’s last whereabouts, the famous city of Mekelle but overcoming that hurdle is easier said than done. 

Photo by the Reuters

Ethiopia has been at peace since the Second World War and a war against the region’s most powerful state will cost the country more than it can recover. Now as the countdown to 70-hour surrenderance offer nears its end and Ethiopian troops build-up and advance to the outskirts of its targeted Mekele, the world is keeping an eye on what their last operation will bring to the country and struggling Tigrians. As an Ethiopian citizen who lived and educated in this big country of Ethiopia, I’m hoping and praying for peace in the region- – and a quick return of normalcy.

It’s a cloudy sky and warm weather morning here in Somali state’s largest city, Jigjiga and till I come back to you with another briefing on the latest in Ethiopia, I say goodbye by now.

——- Ahmed

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