The warring sides in the Ethiopian conflict have made conflicting claims of victory as the year-long conflict rages in the northeast of the country on Friday.The Ethiopian government on Friday claimed that the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front’s fortified trench in Bati- Asagita Front, in the Afar and Amhara region has been destroyed.
The government’s claim came amid reports that the joint force TPLF and the Oromo Liberation Army advanced on the town of Shewa Robit, about 220 kilometers north of Addis Ababa in their bid to close in on the Ethiopian capital.
Bati- Asagita, currently under the control of Ethiopian forces, is said to have strategic military significance.
“The enemy forces that reorganized itself with all its power and appeared in the Bati-Asagita front were entirely annihilated,” said a statement from the federal government’s communication office.
The government estimates the number of TPLF fighters deployed on the same front to be well over tens of thousands.
According to the statement, it was “Army 4” force of the TPLF that was deployed on this front.
There has been fighting for about a week in the area and the TPLF defeat in the area came after a daylong non-stop battle, it was said.
Two strategic mountains where the TPLF had a trench are currently in the hands of the Ethiopian forces, sources say.
State=owned media aired video footage of captured TPLF fighters confessing to the looting and destruction of property in the Afar and Amhara regions.
Sizable firearms were seized from the defeated TPLF forces according to the Ethiopian Defense Force.
It said Afar region special forces and militia took part in the battle.
The rebel forces aimed to control the route to Djibouti by capturing Mille.
When the battle in Mille was lost, it retreated to the Bati-Asagita area where it reorganized its forces, military sources say.
Meanwhile, there are reports that TPLF took control of Woreilu, West Wollo in Amhara region that is adjacent to Shewa.
The Ethiopian government forces have reportedly retreated to Jamma which is said to be strategic.
Similarly, joint TPLF and OLA forces have reportedly encroached on Shewa Robit along the Addis Ababa-Dessie road.