Connect with us

World

Tigrayan forces say they have taken town in Ethiopia’s Amhara region, government denies this

Published

on

October 30, 2021

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) -Rebellious Tigrayan forces said on Saturday they had seized the strategic town of Dessie in Ethiopia’s Amhara region where tens of thousands of ethnic Amharas have sought refuge from an escalation in fighting, but the government denied this.

The fighters pushed Ethiopian government forces from Dessie and were headed towards the town of Kombolcha, Getachew Reda, spokesperson for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), told Reuters by satellite phone from an undisclosed location.

He said Tigrayan forces had captured numerous Ethiopian soldiers.

Advertisement

Legesse Tulu, the government spokesperson, told Reuters in a text message that the town was still under the control of the Ethiopian government and said claims by the Tigrayan forces were “fabricated propaganda”.

The Unites States on Saturday afternoon called on Tigrayan forces to halt their advances “in and around the cities of Dessie and Kombolcha” and renewed calls for them to withdraw from the Amhara and Afar regions.

Asked about the Tigrayan forces’ claims, Ethiopian military spokesman Colonel Getnet Adane referred Reuters to the federal government. Amhara spokesperson Gizachew Muluneh, the mayor of Dessie and a spokesperson for the town did not respond to requests for comment.

Reuters could not independently verify the account of either side as phone lines in Dessie appeared to be down as of Saturday afternoon.

The capture of Dessie would be a strategic gain for the Tigrayan fighters against the central government forces who are trying to dislodge them from the Amhara region.

Advertisement

The large town is some 385 km (240 miles) from the capital, Addis Ababa, and is the furthest south in Amhara that the TPLF has reached since pushing into the region in July.

A school director in Dessie said he saw Ethiopian soldiers retreating from the town on Saturday morning towards Kombolcha and that power across town had been off since Friday.

Another resident of Dessie also said the town had no power and that the federal army had left. Both said they had heard Tigrayan fighters were in town but had not seen them. Both residents spoke on condition of anonymity.

War broke nearly a year ago between federal troops and the TPLF. Thousands of people have been killed and more than 2 million people have been forced to flee.

Tigrayan forces were initially beaten back, but recaptured most of the region in July and pushed into the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions.

Advertisement

In mid-October, the Tigrayan forces said the military had launched a ground offensive to push them out of Amhara. The military said on Thursday there was heavy fighting there, but accused the Tigrayan forces of starting it.

(Reporting by Addis Ababa newsroom Editing by Mark Heinrich, Frances Kerry and Toby Chopra)

Continue Reading
Advertisement

World

One of suspected killers of Saudi journalist Khashoggi arrested in France – RTL

Published

on

December 7, 2021

PARIS (Reuters) – One of the suspected killers of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was arrested at the Roissy airport near Paris on Tuesday as he was about to board a flight to Riyadh, French RTL radio reported.

RTL said the person arrested was a former Royal Guard of Saudi Arabia who is believed to have been involved in the killing of Kashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel, Writing by GV De Clercq, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Advertisement

Continue Reading

World

Biden, Putin begin talks, RIA says, after U.S. warning of toughest sanctions yet if Russia invades Ukraine

Published

on

December 7, 2021

By Steve Holland and Andrew Osborn

WASHINGTON/MOSCOW (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden began a video conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, Russian state television said, after U.S. officials warned Moscow could be hit with the toughest economic sanctions yet if it invades Ukraine.

The officials said the sanctions, which one source said could target Russia’s biggest banks and Moscow’s ability to convert roubles into dollars and other currencies, were designed to dissuade Putin from using tens of thousands of troops massed near the Ukrainian border to attack its southern neighbour.

Advertisement

The Kremlin, which said before the meeting it did not expect any breakthroughs, has denied harbouring such intentions and has said its troop posture is defensive.

But Moscow has voiced rising vexation over Western military aid to Ukraine, a fellow former Soviet republic that has tilted towards the West since a popular revolt toppled a pro-Russian president in 2014, and what it calls creeping NATO expansion.

Moscow has likewise questioned Ukrainian intentions and said it wants guarantees that Kyiv will not use force to try to retake territory lost in 2014 to Russia-backed separatists, a scenario Ukraine has ruled out.

“We’re looking for good, predictable relations with the United States. Russia has never intended to attack anyone, but we have our concerns and we have our red lines,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

Calling for everyone to keep “a cool head”, Peskov said it was vital that Putin and Biden speak given what he called the extraordinary escalation of tensions in Europe.

Advertisement

The Russian rouble weakened slightly on Tuesday, with some market analysts predicting the talks would de-escalate tensions and others saying that the U.S. sanctions threat eroded hopes of finding common ground.

Ahead of his first direct talks with Putin since July, Biden discussed the sanctions plan with European allies on Monday, seeking a strong joint stance in support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

He spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

They called on Russia to defuse tensions and return to diplomacy and said their teams would stay in close touch, including in consultation with NATO allies and EU partners, on a “coordinated and comprehensive approach”, the White House said.

Biden’s team has identified a set of economic penalties to impose should Russia launch an invasion, a senior Biden administration official said.

Advertisement

A separate source familiar with the situation said targeting Putin’s inner circle has been discussed but no decision made. Sanctions against Russia’s biggest banks and curbing the conversion of roubles into dollars and other currencies were also being considered, another source said.

(Additional reporting by Idrees Ali in Washington, Gleb Stolyarov, Dmitry Antonov, Alexander Marrow, Tom Balmforth and Katya Golubkova in Moscow, Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Editing by Lincoln Feast, Catherine Evans and Mark Heinrich)

Continue Reading

World

Britain reports 101 more cases of Omicron coronavirus variant

Published

on

December 7, 2021

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain has found a further 101 confirmed cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant, the UK Health Security Agency said on Tuesday, taking the total number of cases to 437.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by William Schomberg)

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending