- Title: Ethiopia's PM relishes victory, but Tigrayan leader says war not over
- Date: 30th November 2020
- Summary: ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (NOVEMBER 30, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER ABIY AHMED SEATED AT PODIUM FOR PARLIAMENT SESSION MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT SEATED, WEARING FACE MASKS ETHIOPIAN PARLIAMENT SESSION IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (Amharic) ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER, ABIY AHMED, SAYING: "We were on target, 99 percent. There was no collateral damage on 99 percent of the operation. We never fired on uncertainties - for example, during nights, because, what if children die, they are ours - the enemy assumed we use drones only for firing because they didn't know the capacity of the special forces and the air force. But we used drones in 90 percent of the cases to monitor their movements." PARLIAMENT SESSION IN PROGRESS CAMERA OPERATORS MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT SEATED (SOUNDBITE) (Amharic) ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER, ABIY AHMED, SAYING: "The defence forces never killed a single person in a single town. No soldier from any country could display a better competence. We have disciplined heroic soldiers. There was a lot of campaigning saying that we would demolish Mekelle. Mekelle is ours, built with our resources. How can we destroy it? No one got in harm's way in the Mekelle operation. The special forces conducted a special surgery in Mekelle." ABIY AT PODIUM MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT SEATED (SOUNDBITE) (Amharic) ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER, ABIY AHMED, SAYING: "We didn't fire a single rocket in the Tigray region. We have double of what they have in terms of numbers. On whom do we fire rockets? A rocket travels kilometres out of your sight before it falls somewhere. You can't be sure what it does to whom. But our pilots, they go and come back, loaded with their bombs, if they think there's a risk on civilians - because they can decide, we can also make decisions by watching with drones - we won't do it. But it can be dangerous when it comes to rockets. Even though we had a higher number of them we didn't use them because it is our country. We are not a junta." SESSION ENDS AND PM AND OTHERS LEAVE
- Embargoed: 14th December 2020 13:56
- Keywords: Ethiopia Ethiopia federal forces Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Tigray Tigray People's Liberation Front
- Location: ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA
- City: ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA
- Country: Ethiopia
- Topics: Africa,Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA001D6RE153
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed lauded his troops on Monday (November 30) for their victory over a rebellious northern movement, but the leader of Tigrayan forces said they were still resisting amid fears of a protracted guerrilla conflict.
The nearly month-long war has killed hundreds and probably thousands of people, sent refugees into Sudan, enmeshed Eritrea, and stirred rivalries among Ethiopia's myriad ethnic groups.
Federal forces captured Tigray's capital Mekelle at the weekend and declared victory over the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), a guerrilla movement-turned-political party that had dominated national government for nearly three decades until 2018.
Though the TPLF said Mekelle suffered heavy bombardment, Abiy said his troops had not destroyed the city nor killed a single civilian in the region since starting an offensive in response to an attack on a federal army base on Nov. 4.
Drones were used to watch the TPLF, but federal forces declined to use rockets in Tigray, Abiy said.
"We were on target, 99 percent. There was no collateral damage on 99 percent of the operation," Abiy told parliament, comparing his offensive with the American Civil War of the 1860s.
"We have disciplined heroic soldiers."
Though the highland city of 500,000 people eventually fell with little resistance, the TPLF later said it had shot down a plane and retaken one town.
TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael, a 57-year-old former radio operator, denied reports that he had fled to South Sudan and said his forces had captured some soldiers from neighbouring Eritrea around Wukro, about 50 km (30 miles) north of Mekelle.
Claims from all sides are difficult to verify since phone and internet links to Tigray have largely been down and access is restricted.
(Production: Kumerra Gemechu, Nazanine Moshiri, Hanna Rantala)
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