The civil war in Ethiopia is more indecisive than ever. The federal army and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s pro-government coalition have been retaking town after town for the past two weeks, forcing the tiger rebels to retreat. But against all odds, the latter have launched a new counter-offensive in the north of the Amhara region. On Sunday, December 12, tiger soldiers once again seized the town of Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
They had left Lalibela less than two weeks ago in the face of the federal army’s advance. The Tigrayan rebels are already back in the town, according to several residents on Sunday. The Tigrayan Defense Forces are carrying out a major counteroffensive, according to their commanders.
They have been in trouble for the past two weeks, however, making a large-scale withdrawal in the face of the firepower of the government coalition, aided in particular by drone strikes.
Rebels also enter Gashena
Lalibela, as such, does not represent a major military objective. This town of 20,000 inhabitants is far from any road junction. But it is extremely symbolic, known worldwide for its Unesco World Heritage churches. More significantly, the tiger rebels have also entered the town of Gashena, which is on a strategic axis.
This latest development, if it continues, could mark a new phase in this thirteen-month war.