Addis Abeba – AU High-Representative for the Horn of Africa and former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo met with Tigray’s leader Debretsion Gebremichael this afternoon, according to Getachew Reda, Advisor to the President of Tigray and Executive Committee member of the TPLF.
Getachew did not disclose details of the meeting, but it came 24 hrs after Tigray accused Eritrean forces of launching “an offensive” around Adi Awalla, in Tigray regional state. Tigray also accused Eritrean forces of shelling “Sheraro in the 28th and 29th of May.”
The shelling of Sheraro, located in North Western Zone of Tigray state bordering Eritrea, by Eritrean forces over the weekend, was reported by Reuters this afternoon. Citing “internal U.N. documents and regional forces,” the portal said Eritrean forces fired “least 23 rounds… some hitting a school housing displaced families. A 14-year-old girl was killed, at least 18 people were injured and 12 houses were damaged.”
In May this year, Tigray said “there have been several instances of indiscriminate shelling on civilians in parts of Tigray by Eritreans,” but denied accusations by federal and Amhara state officials that its forces were preparing to launch new offensives in Amhara region.
Yesterday, Legesse Tulu (PhD), Minister of Government Communication Services, told BBC Amharic that he was not aware of the report from Getachew, but said the federal government dose “not believe there will be a war from the Eritrean side.”
Furthermore, Legesse accused Tigrayan forces of what might have been a provocation that was responded to by Eritrean forces; he added that the report could be an accusation by the “TPLF after it provoked [it] itself.” The minister also accused Tigrayan forces of working to instigate conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea by provoking such situations because the TPLF “wants to drag both countries into conflict” but said the skirmishes will not escalate to a war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat, appointed chief Obasanjo as his High Representative for the Horn in August last year. The former Nigerian President has since been doing backdoor diplomacy between officials of the federal and Tigray state governments without providing public statements on the prospects of ceasefire and negotiations to end the 18 months civil war. AS