by H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

July 26, 2021

ADDIS ABABA — On Sunday, Ethiopia’s Amhara region called on “all young people” to take up arms against forces from the neighboring Tigray region, which claimed to have taken over a town in Amhara for the first time since the conflict began.

“I call on all young people, militia, non-militia in the region, armed with any government weapon, armed with personal weapons, to join the anti-TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) war mission from tomorrow,” Agegnehu Teshager, president of the Amhara regional government, was quoted as saying by the region’s state media.

The call for mass mobilization came as a spokesperson for Tigray’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, announced that they had taken the Amhara town of Adi Arkay.

In November, the Ethiopian military and the TPLF took up arms against each other.  The government declared victory three weeks later when it captured Tigray’s capital, Mekelle, but the TPLF continued to fight.  After government soldiers withdrew, the TPLF reclaimed control of Mekelle and most of Tigray at the end of June.

Tigrayan forces have recently advanced into Afar, a neighboring region to the east, where they have stated that they intend to target troops from the Amhara region who are fighting alongside the federal military in the area.  Afar is home to the main road and railway that connects Ethiopia’s landlocked capital Addis Ababa to the seaport of Djibouti.

Tigrayan forces have also pushed south and have stated that they will push west in an attempt to reestablish their region’s pre-war borders.  Amhara forces currently control Western Tigray, claiming that the land is rightfully theirs.  The Amhara region’s state media quoted Amhara’s special forces commander, Brigadier General Tefera Mamo, as saying on Saturday that the war had spread to the state.

Thousands of people have died in the fighting, approximately 2 million have been displaced, and more than 5 million are in need of emergency food assistance.