Tigrayan forces battling the Ethiopian government could be poised to seize the country's main trade route, the Djibouti corridor, a top expert on the conflict said Monday.
Will Davison of the International Crisis Group said such a move would put significant economic pressure on the government in Addis Ababa.
"About I guess 10 days ago now they took control of Dessie and Kombolcha cities, two major Amhara cities, and that put them in another significant advance and that's about 400 km from Addis Ababa. And it looks like the Tigray leadership's next ambitions are either to try and take control of the Djibouti corridor, Ethiopia's main trade route. That would allow them to exert significant economic press" Will Davison, International Crisis Group expert on Ethiopia.
His comments came after Tigray forces seized the key cities of Dessie and Kombolcha last week and linked up with another armed group, leading the government of Africa's second-most populous country to declare a national state of emergency.
Meanwhile the president of the Tigray region, Deb retsion Gebremichael, said his forces were aiming to "destroy" the government, either by negotiation or by force.
"By strangling Tigray, the government has denied Tigray access to food and medicine. It has denied the provision of other services too so that people die because of hunger and disease. In addition to that, it continued with its air bombing. Therefore, because the government is working on its project of decimating Tigray from the face of the earth, we had to destroy the enemy by moving our forces outside of Tigray to crash and break the siege. In the end, this enemy should be destroyed."
The war has killed thousands of people since it erupted in November 2020. But with Tigrayan fighters advancing toward the capital, Ethiopia now stands at risk of collapse.