The civil war in Ethiopia has been going on for more than a week when today (Friday) the government in Addis Ababa announced a significant achievement for the Ethiopian military forces, the conquest of the cities of Adva and Axum.
Axum, the capital of ancient Ethiopia and one of the most important antiquities sites in the country, holds deep meaning for the people of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray, who fought against the Ethiopian army for over three days over the historic city. The Ethiopian army alienated large infantry and armored forces to the area.
Ethiopian army forces are now also fighting in the southern part of the Tigray region near the city of Korem, which sits on the main road to the capital of the Tigray region of Makala. The Ethiopian army has suffered heavy casualties in battles north of there and the rebels claim its progress has been halted on this front. Earlier this week, Ethiopian Prime Minister Avi Ahmad ordered the army to advance towards Makala and now the Ethiopian army is closing in on the city from the north, south and east.
The number of refugees fleeing the war zone to Sudan now stands at 31,000 and its aid agencies in the country claim they are not prepared for such a large number of displaced people, despite the United Nations estimates that the number of refugees could reach two hundred thousand.
It is estimated that more than 2,000 people have been killed in fighting in northern Ethiopia, which began about two weeks ago. Alongside the political controversy between the Hezi Tahamit organization for the liberation of Tigray and the federal government of Abbey Ahmad, the war also takes on an ethnic character. Reports from refugees arriving in Sudan indicate that militias of the Amhara, the second largest ethnic group in the country, and members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray have committed ethnic atrocities.