Troops in Ethiopia’s Tigray rebel region said on Wednesday they were in talks to form a military alliance with rebels in Ethiopia’s most populous region, Oromiya, pushing for a central government in Addis. Ababa.
The move could signal the escalation of a nine-month war in the country and comes a day after the government urged civilians to join the war against the emerging Tigray forces.
“We are in talks with the Oromo Liberation Army,” Debretsion Gebremichael, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF), told Reuters by satellite.
The TPLF controls the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia and its forces have been battling federal troops since November in a conflict that has sparked a major refugee crisis.
In recent weeks, the conflict has spread to two neighboring areas, Afar and Amhara, removing another 250,000 people and raising international concerns over the weakening of Africa’s second most populous nation.
Bond declined to provide further details. Also on Wednesday, Getachew Reda, a TPLF spokesman, told Reuters via satellite phone that a “certain deal” was underway. “It is only natural that we work with people who have a role to play in the future of the Ethiopian nation.
“At this time, we are sharing information and coordinating the strategy,” Odaa Tarbii, a spokesman for the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), in a message.
Tarbii said the agreement, which he described as “very early”, was “based on a common understanding that Abiy’s dictatorship must be abolished.”
The OLA is an isolated group from the Oromo Liberation Front, a previously banned group that returned from exile after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018.
The Ethiopian army did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Abiy Billene Seyoum’s spokeswoman said in an email that the two groups – TPLF and OLA – had been nominated by parliament to be terrorist organizations. He did not mention it.
Clashes between federal forces and the TPLF have forced more than two million people out of their homes, and more than 50,000 people have fled to neighboring Sudan. Read more
The government announced a one-sided ceasefire in June, after Tigrayan forces recaptured the provincial capital Mekelle. Tigray forces refused to end the war, saying the government should accept their terms of agreement.