Ethiopian military forces have launched a massive ground offensive against rebel groups in the Tigray region. The Tigray People's Liberation Front, an ethnic nationalist paramilitary group, confirmed the offensive, adding that there are now active skirmishes on several fronts.
The TPLF said fighting had erupted on Monday after the government sent troops to the region as part of a "staggering" ground offensive. The group said there are now deadly skirmishes on at least three fronts in the Amhara region between government troops and Amhara regional militias.
TPLF representatives said the skirmishes involved the use of drones, tanks, and airstrikes. The latest attack has reignited the devastating civil war, which had resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives on both sides and affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians.
The nearly year-long civil war in the region has caused a significant humanitarian crisis with the international community calling on an end to the violence. Earlier in the year, the Ethiopian government expelled U.N. officials from the region despite clear signs of famine that has put millions of lives at risk.
The office of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed did not respond directly to questions about the latest offensive but it only stated that the government's responsibility was to protect its people from all acts of terrorism.
"The government of Ethiopia will continue to counter the TPLF's destruction, violence, and killings in the Amhara region and elsewhere," Abiy's office said.
Ethiopian officials said the offensive is part of its plan to push the TPLF out of the Amhara region and to protect all citizens in the area. The TPLF had entered the Amhara region just this summer.
The civil war in Tigray began in November last year when Abiy ordered the country's military to take back the region from the TPLF. The group, which is also the leading political party in the region, had ruled over Ethiopia for three decades before the current government came into power.
TPLF officials described the latest offensive as part of Abiy's final push to reinvade Tigray. The TPLF has slammed Abiy's actions of pursuing a more violent means of taking power.
"Despite repeated appeals by the international community as well as the Government of Tigray to find a peaceful resolution of the current crisis, the Government of Ethiopia has once again chosen to continue its genocidal war on Tigray," TPLF officials said.