The Ethiopian government said on Tuesday it taken three towns in the war-stricken region of Tigray, as alarm grows about the resurgent conflict pitting federal forces and their allies against Tigrayan rebels.
“The ENDF (Ethiopian National Defense Force) has taken control of the towns of Shire, Alamata and Korem without fighting in urban areas,” the government said in a statement.
The announcement came after the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) said that the strategic city of Shire and other areas had fallen to “invading forces”.
The government added that it would “coordinate with humanitarian agencies to provide humanitarian aid” through the areas now under army control including Shire airport.
On Monday, the government had vowed it would take control of airports and other federal sites in Tigray, a region of about six million people which has been largely cut off from the rest of Ethiopia for much of the two-year war.
Fighting has been raging in northern Ethiopia despite international calls for the warring sides to lay down their arms and sit at the negotiating table.