ADDIS ABABA, FEBRUARY 26, 2022 — Ethiopia's Field Marshal Birhanu Jula told Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) Eastern Command to be prepared for another round operation against the infamous Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) which have invaded Afar National Regional State taking over Kilbati Rasu Zone, killing hundreds and forcing more than 300,000 civilians to flee.
ENDF Chief of Staff Field Marshal Birhanu Jula informed the ENDF Eastern Command members to be vigilant during an award ceremony held in Semera, capital of Afar region, today.
The speech from the Field Marshal comes on a time the heavily armed TPLF forces continued their attack on the poorly defended Afar front which they began on late December last year. Without the ENDF, TPLF terrorists were only facing resistance from an ill equipped Afar Special Forces and militiamen.
"Our operation is not yet over. Eastern Command needs to maintain its honor and repeat its victory with minimum loss. You need to concentrate your powers and continue your training. You need to maintain discipline and form another Eastern Command which will be ready to take on a new operation", said Field Marshal Birhanu Jula.
Field Marshal Birhanu Jula lauded the members of the Eastern Command for their heroic sacrifice defending the Eastern flank in Kasagita, Afar region, whilst the TPLF forces attempted to capture the Ethio-Djibouti road, Ethiopia's economic lifeline, on November, 2021.
Although, the Field Marshal gave a hint that the ENDF will join Afar forces soon, he has not said when and in what way. He also explained ENDF's objective is to attain victory at a minimum loss which may not go down well for women and children who suffered from TPLF's aggression.
Last week on the evening of February 15, BBC Amharic reported that TPLF forces launched heavy artillery on a village killing 10 members of a family and injuring 13 others.
While UNHCR reported on Friday that each day at least 300 new displaced people arrive in IDP sites in Afar, vast majority of them women and children.
On February 18, UNHCR confirmed EthiopianCitizen's January 28 report that thousands of Eritrean refugees were displaced when TPLF fighters were shelling refugee camp in Berhale, Afar region.
"Refugees who trekked the long distance to the regional capital in Semera told UNHCR staff that armed men entered the camp on 3 February, stole their belongings and occupied their homes. According to their testimonies, at least five refugees were killed and several women were kidnapped. Family members lost one another in the chaos of fleeing the camp", reported UNHCR Ethiopia.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, during his address at the 3rd Emergency Session of House of People's Representative (HoPR), said that an attack on Afar or Amhara is an attack on all which demands everyone to work together to defend against the attack.
He also said that the federal government is closely working with the Afar regional government to respond to TPLF's invasion.
However, time does not seem to be on the side of civilians in Afar who are getting killed and being forced out of their homes each day.