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Date 18.04.2021

US orders diplomats to leave Chad as rebels near capital

The US State Department has long warned Americans not to travel to Chad because of unrest and the presence of the jihadist Boko Haram group.

The State Department on Saturday ordered non-essential diplomats at the US Embassy in Chad to leave the landlocked African nation due to potential insurgent attacks on the capital N'Djamena.

It also ordered the families of American personnel stationed there to leave the country.

"Armed non-governmental groups in northern Chad have moved south and appear to be heading toward N'Djamena. Due to their growing proximity to N'Djamena, and the possibility for violence in the city, non-essential US government employees have been ordered to leave Chad by commercial airline," said the department.

The department has long warned Americans not to travel to Chad because of unrest and the presence of the jihadist Boko Haram group. It said any Americans there now who wanted to leave should do so.

The UK also asked its citizens to leave Chad as soon as possible.

Chad's army says rebel column 'destroyed'

Meanwhile, Chad's army said that it had "completely destroyed" a column of rebels, who had attacked the northern part of the country.  

"The adventure of the mercenaries from Libya ended as announced. Congratulations to our valiant defense and security forces," said Chérif Mahamat Zene, Chad's minister of communications.

Army spokesman Azem Bermandoa said that they were searching for the last of the rebels.

The UK government said on Saturday that a group of Libya-based rebels, the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) was heading towards N'Djamena and a separate convoy was seen approaching a town 220 kilometers (137 miles) north of the capital.

Last Sunday, FACT rebels said they had captured garrisons near Chad's northern borders with Niger and Libya "without resistance."

Deby takes early election lead

The latest assault came last Sunday, the same day as the country's presidential election, which the incumbent Idriss Deby Itno — who has ruled the country for 30 years — is expected to win.

An ally of Western powers in the fight against Islamist militants in West and Central Africa, Deby is one of Africa's longest-serving leaders, but there are signs of growing discontent over his handling of the nation's oil wealth.

Chad's government has been forced to cut back public spending in recent years because of the low price of oil, its main export, sparking labour strikes.

Opposition leaders called on their supporters to boycott the polls and make the country "ungovernable" after Deby's decision to seek a sixth term led to protests and clashes with security forces.

Deby has relied on a firm grip over state institutions and one of the region's most capable militaries to maintain power.


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Ethiopia: Uncertainty in Tigray after rebels take control of restive north 

By Abu-Bakarr Jalloh (Reuters, AFP) | 7h ago

The rebel Tigray Defense Forces claimed Mekele and Shire were under their control. Experts warn of a precarious situation after Ethiopia's federal government called a unilateral cease-fire.

The former ruling party in Tigray said it took back control of the regional capital Mekele on Monday after Ethiopia's federal government troops controlled the city for eight months.

The Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) is "in control of Mekele and people are now dancing in the streets," said Million Haileselassie, a DW correspondent based in the city. 

The TDF is the military wing of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) party, which ruled Tigray until being ousted by the federal government in November 2020. 


What has happened so far?

Last week, the TDF launched a major offensive that coincided with Ethiopia's highly anticipated national elections, which unfolded in much of the country — though not in Tigray.

Results from polling stations have yet to be announced, but they are widely expected to deliver Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed a formal mandate.

An airstrike last Tuesday in Togoga, a village in Tigray, killed 64 people and injured at least 180. The Ethiopian military said the strike was aimed at rebels. 


Also on Monday, the Ethiopia government declared an "immediate, unilateral" cease-fire in its Tigray region after the TDF rebel forces entered the regional capital.

The federal government said the cease-fire "will enable farmers to till their land, aid groups to operate without any military movement around and engage with remnants [of Tigray's former ruling party] who seek peace." Ethiopia said the cease-fire would last until the end of the farming season in Tigray in September.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Eritrean forces were no longer visible in Shire, a town north of Mekele in Tigray region. Many claimed on Twitter that the towns of Shire and Axum had fallen to TDF fighters.

Federal government on the edge

Fighting between federal troops and Tigrayan soldiers began on November 4, 2020, after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military response following attacks on federal army camps in Tigray.

TPLF denied any responsibility and called the accusation a pretext for an "invasion." Abiy rejected calls for peace talks as his army shelled and advanced on Tigray.

He considered military operations "complete" on November 28, 2020.

This week's major turn of events comes after eight months of intense fighting. TDF fighters had launched multiple assaults against federal Ethiopian forces and also clashed with Eritrean Defense Forces.

Ethiopia's federal forces were in control of Mekele, while Eritrea's military, albeit unofficially, had under their control the towns of Shire, Adwa and Axum, which are close to the Eritrean border.



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The Tigrayans dont even have uniforms, yet they have creamed the Ethiopian forces. In part, they know exactly what the strengths and weaknesses of their enemy as Tigrayans were pretty dominant in the Ethiopian military. Nonetheless they have achieved rapid operational level success against a much better equipped and supported opponent. There is much to be learned in their methods.


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10 hours ago, Simon Tan said:

The Tigrayans dont even have uniforms, yet they have creamed the Ethiopian forces. In part, they know exactly what the strengths and weaknesses of their enemy as Tigrayans were pretty dominant in the Ethiopian military. Nonetheless they have achieved rapid operational level success against a much better equipped and supported opponent. There is much to be learned in their methods.


Well the Tigrayans were almost as good scrappers as the Eritreans; the had a lot of experience fighting Ethiopian regulars from 'back in the day'.

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They took on the Eritreans and Ethiopians. Seems like they did not choose to fight for real estate in the first phase, when the government was at its peak. Instead they withdrew into the bush and husbanded their resources while eroding the occupying forces. With the enemy dispersed and holding real estate, they launched well coordinated offensives and defeated the Ethiopian forces in detail, all the while reinforcing their combat power with captured weapons and supplies. 

Impressive nonetheless but poorly documented. Ethiopians were not very badly equipped but they seem to have little stomach to fight. 

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    Actually, the first phase was when the Eritreans attacked the Ethiopian army depots, but I understand your point. 

Much of the army and it’s leadership were Eritrean 10 years ago. Not sure if that’s still the case but Abiy has only been in power for a few years. So naturally there would be reluctance to prosecute such a war. 

  It looks like the bridge over the main road leading to Tigray was destroyed. According to the News Tribune, 4 roads lead to Eritrea. One is in Amhara hands, one is blocked by fighting, and the bridge to the third was just destroyed.  Famine in Eritrea is a real problem, and by retreating from Eritrea feeding the population is no longer Abiy’s problem. Also issues with raping, looting, etc go away if the troops aren’t there. Abiy was taking a beating from European governments (and also the US government). 

  Can you post some sources on the Eritrean offensive?

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Date 13.07.2021

Author Isaac Mugabi

SADC upset by Rwanda's military aid to appease Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province

Rwanda deployed a joint force of army and police to Mozambique's troubled northern province of Cabo Delgado to help fight Islamic State-linked militants. Not everyone is happy about Kigali's move.

The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) is concerned about a nonmember country's deploying soldiers in the region without its approval and ahead of the bloc's own troops.

According to a statement by Rwanda's Defense Ministry, the "deployment came at Mozambique's request and will consist of a 1,000-person contingent to support efforts to restore Mozambican state authority by conducting combat and security operations in Cabo Delgado."

The statement added that "the Mozambique mission is set to last at least three months, and, after that, an evaluation will determine whether it should be extended or not."

Mozambique insists that, while it remains committed to working with SADC to pacify the northern region, it can partner with other African states to address its security problems.

Ryan Cummings, a security analyst with Signal Risk in Cape Town, South Africa, told DW that "the deployment of Rwandan troops in Mozambique is part of a memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries in 2018; therefore, it should not come as a surprise to regional countries."

"President Kagame is admired for contributing peacekeeping missions worldwide, and that's why his Mozambican counterpart, Filipe Nyusi, reached out to him," Cummings said.

"Mozambique does not want to lose control over its counterinsurgency efforts to SADC, but rather to coordinate all peace efforts with the EU and SADC," the analyst said.

At least 2,500 civilians have been killed and more than 800,000 displaced since the start of the insurgency in Cabo Delgado in 2017. The humanitarian situation has quickly deteriorated and there is no end in sight to the attacks.

SADC to deploy troops

Amid calls for more help to quell the violence in Cabo Delgado, SADC announced that it would send in troops on July 15. According to a statement by SADC, the military intervention is part of the regional protocol for defense and security policy and recognized by the United Nations. Political analyst Dercio Alfazema stressed the importance of help from third parties to expel the terrorists from the north of his country.

"The intervention of SADC is strategic. And it is the first group of countries sharing the same interests with Mozambique. They agree that this situation of terrorism has to be solved as soon as possible and it should not expand beyond Cabo Delgado," Alfazema told DW.



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Ethiopia: Fear Tigray conflict could trigger all-out war

By Kate Hairsine | 3h ago

More regional militias have pledged to march into Tigray. Some fear that this could send Ethiopia into a spiral of ethnic violence. Others see the move as a sign of Ethiopian unity.

Special forces and militias from a number of Ethiopia's regions are mobilizing to back the federal government's military operations in Tigray, signaling a widening of the conflict.

Regular forces from Amhara — a large region abutting the south of Tigray — have been fighting alongside federal troops ever since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched the military offensive in Tigray last November.

But now regular and irregular combatants from six regions not previously involved in the conflict are joining, including from Oromia, Ethiopia's most populous region, as well as Sidama, Somalia and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP).

Ethiopia has a federal system, with 10 regional states (and two city administrations), which are largely ethnic based. Each have their own special forces, plus local militia groups often made up of farmers similar to a home guard unit.

"We have sent over 2,000 militias to the front," the administrator of Western Gojam Zone in Amhara, Simenhe Ayalew, said last week, according to the Bloomberg news agency.

Militias have little combat experience

The question is how much of a military asset these regional fighters will be.

"The regional militia has been given a Kalashnikov and maybe some very rudimentary training. But they are being called in because the war has decimated the federal forces," said Kjetil Tronvoll, a professor of peace and conflict studies at Norway's Bjorknes University College.

"The tragedy is that these militia may basically be perceived as cannon fodder and we can expect very high casualty rates if they don’t defect or surrender in large numbers," Tronvoll told DW.

Abiy called for regional military back up after Tigray's former ruling party, the Tigray's People Liberation Front (TPLF), took back control of the regional capital, Mekele, and ousted the Ethiopian National Defense Force in June.

Tigray rebels launch new offensives

The mobilizations come amid reports that Tigray rebels are making incursions into Amhara-occupied areas of Tigray, as well as into the Afar region, which borders Tigray to its east.

Tigrayan fighters crossed into Afar on Saturday and Afar forces and allied militias were still battling them on Monday, Afar spokesman Ahmed Koloyta told Reuters news agency.


Eritrea's future role unclear

Adding to the mix are troops from Eritrea, Ethiopia's neighbor to the north, which entered the conflict in support of Abiy's government.

Eritrea's leader, Isaias Afwerki, is a sworn enemy of the TPLF, which ruled Ethiopia when the countries fought a border war.

Despite the TPLF's recent battle successes, Eritrean forces still remain in Tigray, although it seems that they have withdrawn to the north, closer to the common border.



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  The Tigray’s ran the country under Prime Minister Meles. After decades of rule, the rest of the country is tired of them, but they aren’t willing to give up power. They’ve managed (temporarily) to somewhat unite Oromos (the most populous ethnic group) and Amharas (ethnic group of the Emperors who ruled previously) who were formerly feuding. 
  I kind of feel Meles was the Tito of Ethiopia. With his death the country started coming apart.  We’ll see how much Abiy can hold it together. 

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Date 05.08.2021

Ethiopia: Tigray rebels seize UNESCO site Lalibela

The historic town in northern Ethiopia is famous for its 12th-century rock-hewn churches. The US has urged rebels to "protect this cultural heritage" and to end the violence.

Tigrayan rebels took control of the historic town of Lalibela in Ethiopia on Thursday, local residents told Reuters and AFP news agencies.

The takeover by the rebels comes as fighting in the conflict expands beyond Tigray to the neighboring regions of Amhara and Afar.

What did local residents say?

"They came in the afternoon, and there was not any fighting. There were no security forces around. The TPLF forces are in the town now," one Lalibela resident told AFP, referring to the Tigray People's Liberation Front. 

Another resident, who goes by Seyfu, told Reuters by phone that the soldiers were speaking Tigrinya, the language of ethnic Tigrayans, and that they were wearing "different uniforms" than the Ethiopian military. 

The town, located in the northern region of Amhara, is a UN World Heritage Site renowned for its rock-hewn churches dating from the 12th century.

Seyfu said that local Amhara forces allied with the central government fled the area on Wednesday prior to the takeover. 

"We asked them to stay, or at least give us their Kalashnikovs, but they refused and fled taking five ambulances, several trucks and cars. They shot dead a friend of mine while they fled, he was begging them to stay to protect civilians," he said.

Ethiopian government officials have not yet confirmed whether Lalibela was seized by rebels. 

The seizure of Lalibela comes as the rebels carry out an offensive against the Ethiopian government in the Amhara and Afar regions, which both border Tigray.

Over 300,000 people have been forced to flee due to the fighting, according to the Ethiopian government. 



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Date 01.10.2021

Author Mimi Mefo Takambou

From peaceful protests to war: The evolution of Cameroon's Anglophone conflict

A separatist crisis that began five years ago in Anglophone Cameroon has spiraled into unmitigated violence. The UN says a humanitarian catastrophe is on the horizon — but the key players aren't willing to compromise.

Over the past five years, the English-speaking regions of Cameroon have rapidly morphed into a war zone. Lives have been lost, properties have been destroyed, and the humanitarian crisis continues to intensify.

In its latest report, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) highlighted the impact on education: "Since the beginning of the crisis in 2016, education has been highly affected. Many schools have closed to avoid frequent attacks against education facilities. Teachers and students have been attacked, kidnapped, threatened, and killed. In 2021, more than 700,000 children are deprived of education in the north-west and south-west regions."

Felix Agbor Nkongho, a human rights lawyer who was a leading member of the now-outlawed Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC), has been disheartened by the ongoing crisis. 


Uncertain but peaceful beginnings

Agbor Nkongho said the initial measures to pressure the government — such as lockdowns and school boycotts — were only meant to last for a short while. He blames Yaounde for escalating the situation.

"[The measures] were just to draw attention to the international community to what we were going through as a people," he said. "We were even planning to call off the school boycott before the consortium was outlawed."

In the lead-up to the country's Unification Day on October 1, the situation in Cameroon's two English-speaking regions remains uncertain. Speaking on behalf of the Ambazonia Governing Council (AGovC), the movement's deputy defense chief, Emmanuel Ndong, briefly explained the history behind their cause.

"British Southern Cameroons — that is being called today Ambazonia— gained its independence from the United Kingdom following the UN's Resolution 1608, which terminated the British mandate to govern Southern Cameroons on the 1st of October, 1961," Ndong told DW. 

Agbor Nkongho said the government's decision to mark Unification Day on this date was the "height of political hypocrisy."

"[President Paul Biya] can take all of us by an ambush by declaring the 1st of October, a national holiday in Cameroon," he said.

Civilians the victims of an unclear strategy

For Cameroonians directly affected by the conflict, talk of dates and history is meaningless.

"The government and separatists are playing with the lives of the local population they claim to protect," Nfor Nkfu, an Anglophone taxi driver, told DW. "These parties involved in the ongoing crisis are protecting their interests. They are not protecting anyone."

Nelson Tum, a history teacher, said the fighting between the separatists and the government had left him and many others distrustful of both sides.

"To say that I feel protected by both parties is completely out of place, because you do not know who can hurt you at any given moment," he said. 

Paul Nilong, from the Interim Government of Ambazonia, said the federal government sought to make "Ambazonia ungovernable — it's all about destroying everything."

"The most important part is the economic sabotage," said Ndong.

The separatists, however, have not always agreed on their own strategy, particularly when it comes to repeated lockdowns — something that Ndong acknowledged has damaged their cause. 

"We think it is counterproductive to declare a two-week lockdown of the territory, which is going to impose additional hardship to our people that are already bearing the brunt of this war," he said.

But Nilong said the lockdown was needed to send a message to the government. 

"The two-week lockdown was to tell Yaounde they are not in control," he said.

Lack of government progress due to 'bad faith'

The government has been accused of not doing enough to stem the crisis.

Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, a member of the ruling Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM) party who previously served as forestry and wildlife minister, told DW that officials have been doing the best they could to end the violence. 

"The government means well and has been doing a lot to try to put an end to the crisis and, in particular, to try to put an end to the armed conflict." Ngolle Ngolle said. 

From his experiences on the ground, the history teacher Tum said the government had tried to restore calm in the Anglophone regions, but called the efforts insufficient.

"The government has done a lot, but I will say it's not enough to end the crisis," Tum said. "During the holding of a major national dialogue, those we consider leaders of the Anglophone [regions] were not brought into the dialogue with the government."

Ngolle Ngolle said the lack of progress on the part of the government had more to do with the "bad faith" of some individuals who seek to "benefit from the conflict."

"Apparently, money flies around on both sides, and they seem to be benefiting from this money," he said.



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Date 16.10.2021

Sudan: Thousands call for dissolution of transitional government

Crowds of protesters have taken to the streets of Khartoum to call for the military to take power. The current political tensions in Sudan could jeopardize the country's transition to democracy.

Thousands of Sudanese protesters marched in the capital, Khartoum, on Saturday calling for the transitional civilian-military government of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to be dissolved and replaced by a military administration.

The protesters demanded, among other things, that General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the armed forces and Sudan's joint military-civilian Sovereign Council, initiate a coup and seize power. Some chanted "one army, one people" and "the army will bring us bread."

The demonstration came as Sudan is in the grip of factional divisions that are endangering the country's transition to democracy after two decades of autocratic rule by Omar al-Bashir ended in April 2019. It follows on the heels of a reported foiled coup attempt on September 21 that the government blamed on both military officers and civilians linked to Bashir's regime.

The protest was organized by political parties and military-aligned splinter factions of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), an umbrella group that was behind the protests that led to Bashir's overthrow and has played a large role in the transition since then.

The pro-military protesters, many of whom were reportedly bused in from outside the capital, clashed with pro-civilian protesters who oppose a military takeover.

Pro-civilian groups have called for protests on Thursday.



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Ethiopia: Tigray and anti-government groups form alliance

3h ago

Nine factions opposed to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed have joined forces to seek a political transition. Ethiopia has been mired in violent conflict for over a year. The US Embassy is now urging all its citizens to leave.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed faced a new challenge on Friday as nine anti-government groups, including Tigray militants, formed a new alliance.

The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) has been fighting the central government for over a year. Now they have formed the United Front of Ethiopian Federalist and Confederalist Forces along with other opposition groups.

The aim of the new alliance is "to reverse the harmful effects of the Abiy Ahmed rule on the peoples of Ethiopia and beyond," the organizers said, and "in recognition of the great need to collaborate and join forces towards a safe transition."

What does the alliance plan to do?

The alliance also includes the Oromo Liberation Army. Some of the groups have armed fighters, Reuters reported.

One of the organizers of the alliance, Yohannes Abraha, told The Associated Press that the United Front would "establish a transitional government" and then "start meeting and communicating with countries, diplomats and international actors in Ethiopia and abroad."

Abraha added that the alliance is both political and military, but that it had no contact with Ahmed's government.

"Of course we prefer if there's a peaceful and orderly transition with Abiy being removed," a spokesperson for the Oromo Liberation Army told AP.

"The goal is to be as inclusive as possible. We know this transition requires all stakeholders,'' he added.



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Uganda: Explosions rock capital Kampala

39m ago

Several people have died in twin blasts in the Ugandan capital. The blasts come weeks after a bombing killed one and injured several others in another part of the city.

Two blasts from suicide attacks shook the capital of the Ugandan capital Kampala on Tuesday, local witnesses said.

The first explosion occurred outside a police station. The second was close to the parliamentary building but appeared to be targeting another structure housing an insurance company.

The three suicide attackers as well as three other people were killed and another 33 were injured, police spokesperson Fred Enanga told Ugandan NBS Television.


Warnings ahead of the attack

Emmanuel Ainebyoona, a spokesperson for the ministry of health, said on Twitter that a local hospital was "currently attending to about 24 causalities. Reports indicate four are in critical condition."

Enanga blamed Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a group with connections to the so-called "Islamic State," for the blasts, saying "the hallmarks [of the attacks] are consistent with the ADF."

Ugandan soldiers have been fighting against al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab forces in Somalia.

The ADF also claimed responsibility for an attack that killed one and injured several others at a restaurant in Kampala on October 23.

The militant group was originally founded by Ugandan Muslims but has since moved its main bases into the mountainous forests of the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.


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Ethiopia: Tigray rebels recapture Lalibela, residents say

17h ago

Residents of Lalibela, home to a UN World Heritage site, said the rebels have retaken it "without firing guns." Ethiopian forces and their allies had taken control of the town less than two weeks ago.

Tigray forces have recaptured the north Ethiopian town of Lalibela, 11 days after government forces said they had taken it back, witnesses reported on Sunday.

Lalibela, located in the Amhara region 645 kilometers (400 miles) north of the capital Addis Ababa, is home to a UNESCO world heritage site and an important pilgrimage site for Ethiopian Christians.

The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) rebel group's military leadership said in a statement shared with pro-TPLF media that they had launched "widespread counter-offensives" in several locations.

What did the residents say?

Citing a witness, Reuters news agency reported that residents had begun fleeing Lalibela. "We panicked, we never saw this coming. TPLF forces are now patrolling the town wearing their uniforms," the witness said.

Another witness told Reuters that special forces from the Amhara region and their militia allies — both allies of the Ethiopian government — began leaving Lalibela on Saturday night.

"The last batch left this morning. We heard gunshots from a distance last night but the Tigrayan forces recaptured Lalibela without firing guns in the town," the witness, a hotel receptionist, told Reuters.



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12 hours ago, Strannik said:

Macron is not getting a welcome reception in Algeria:


How do they say F/k You in Arabic? I'm familiar with the insults involving 'Your Mama' and 'Your Sister' but F/k you is unknown to me.

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Satellite images show Eritrea military buildup near Tigray

New satellite imagery of one of the world’s most reclusive nations shows a military buildup inside Eritrea near the border with Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, backing up witness accounts of a new, large-scale offensive


This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies claims to show M-46 towed field guns and military vehicles positioned in the village of Serha in Eritrea, across the border from the town of Zalambessa in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. New satellite imagery of one of the world's most reclusive nations shows military positions inside Eritrea near the border with Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, backing up witness accounts of a new, large-scale offensive. (Maxar Technologies via AP)


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