The fighting between Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) continues to spiral out of control. Tigray is a northern Ethiopian province which had engaged in a guerrilla war against the Ethiopian government from 1975 to 19991.  

Various media outlets report that Ethiopian national defense forces have taken control of Shire and Alamata located respectively northwest and south of Tigray’s capital of Mekelle.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a Facebook post that the three-day ultimatum he had issued for Tigray military forces to surrender has passed. He added that the offensive by Ethiopian military forces is now entering its final phase. 

The Ethiopian government says TPLF forces destroyed four bridges on the road to Mekelle to stop national forces from advancing.

On November 4, Prime Minister Ahmed ordered the offensive against Tigray after forces from the TPLF had attacked an Ethiopian Northern Command base and made off with nearly all of the heavy weapons and equipment. The recent showdown began when elections, which the Ethiopian government considered illegal, were held in Tigray.

The military has been conducting airstrikes and calling in artillery on TPLF forces inside of Mekelle. It has announced that it is not targeting civilians. The government has accused the TPLF of concealing military equipment in schools, mosques, and churches. It has not furnished proof to substantiate its claims. 

On Wednesday, the leaders of Tigray’s TPLF posted a statement on Facebook Wednesday, vowing that “the people of Tigray will never kneel down to actions of aggressors.”

“Tigray is now a hell to its enemies,” the statement read, claiming “remarkable victories” on the battlegrounds, directly contradicting the Ethiopian government’s claims. The TLPF leaders also accused federal forces of killing innocent civilians while targeting churches and homes.