The Ethiopian government accuses the TPLF of launching an attack and "destroying the truce," while the rebels claim the military began a “large-scale” offensive towards southern Tigray.
Ethiopia’s government and rebels in the restive Tigray region have traded blame as fighting erupted, ending a months-long truce and severely denting hopes for lasting peace.
A government statement said on Wednesday that Tigray rebels carried out attacks on Ethiopian forces near Kobo district and “have effectively broken the cease-fire.”
The attacks began around dawn “on the Eastern Front; from Bisober, Zobel and Tekulshe direction,” the statement said.
However, Getachew Reda, spokesperson for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), said Ethiopian forces launched a “large-scale offensive” on rebel positions.
“The regime’s well-orchestrated campaign and the international community has now been revealed for the drama that it has always been,” he said on Twitter.
A statement from the military command of Tigrayan forces said an “extensive offensive” started “in the direction of Chobe Ber, Janora, Gubagala, Yalow, Alamata, Bala and Bisober.”
It said the assault was “designed as an auxiliary attack to enable the occupation of Southern Tigray,” with the “primary offensive” expected “from Western Tigray and Western Gondar.”
Humanitarian disaster getting worse
There was a lull in the war since March after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government declared a unilateral truce after nearly two years of fighting.
The TPLF last week rejected talks under the mediation of the African Union, while the government insists that remains the only avenue for dialogue.
Thousands, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions displaced since the armed conflict began in November 2020, with the UN blaming both sides for the deaths.
The UN has warned that Tigray “stands on the edge of a humanitarian disaster,” with more than 40 percent of the region’s estimated 6 million people in need of emergency assistance.