Ethiopia Seizes Town in Tigray, Says 10,000 Prisoners Missing
Story Code : 898120
Tigray forces fired rockets into neighboring Eritrea last Saturday, escalating a 13-day conflict which has killed hundreds on both sides, and threatens to destabilize other parts of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.
"As the TPLF (Tigray's ruling party) militia were defeated in Alamata, they fled taking along around 10,000 prisoners," the government's task force said on Twitter.
With access restricted and most communications down in Tigray, Reuters could not independently verify assertions made by all sides.
There was no immediate comment from Tigray's leaders on the events in Alamata, a town near the border with Amhara regional state, about 120km from Tigray's capital Mekelle.
The US State Department's top diplomat for Africa, Mr. Tibor Nagy, denounced the attacks by Tigrayan forces on Eritrea, calling them "efforts to internationalize the conflict" in Tigray.
Mr. Debretsion Gebremichael, Tigray's regional president, has accused Eritrea of sending tanks and thousands of troops into his region in support of the Ethiopian government's offensive.
Eritrea's Foreign Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed said last week that his country was not involved in the conflict.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched the campaign in Tigray on Nov 4 after accusing local forces of attacking federal troops based in the northern state, which borders Eritrea and Sudan and is home to some five million people.
Fighting spread into Ethiopia's Amhara state, whose local forces are fighting with federal troops in Tigray. Late on Friday, rockets were fired at two airports in Amhara in what the TPLF said was retaliation for government air strikes.
The government says the strikes aim to destroy equipment controlled by insurgent Tigray forces.