Fighting in Tigray escalates despite ceasefire

 Fighting in Tigray escalates despite ceasefire

Intense fighting is being reported in Ethiopia’s Amhara state – the latest sign that the war that erupted in the Tigray region in November is spreading.

Federal forces as well as Amhara regional troops were involved in fighting Tigray rebels on three fronts, an Amhara official told the BBC.

This is despite the government saying a unilateral ceasefire declared last month had not been suspended.

All sides have accused each other of escalating the conflict.

The situation has intensified since the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebels recaptured much of Tigray in a spectacular offensive against the national army in June.

Authorities around the country have been mobilising to join the fight, with rallies being held nationwide to encourage people to enlist.

Food supplies in Tigray – where an estimated 400,00 people are living in famine conditions – will run out on Friday, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) has warned.

All roads into Tigray from the Amhara region – which lies to the west and south of the war-torn northern state – remained closed, the WFP said.

The only aid route through the Afar region, which borders Tigray to the east, became inaccessible last week following an attack on a WFP convoy.

The state broadcaster says the army and its allies have “annihilated” a rebel division in battles over the last week in Afar. There is no independent confirmation of this claim.