ADDIS ABABA, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian government on Monday announced the capture of a strategic town from Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) fighters in the restive Tigray regional state.
"The Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) have liberated the town of Alamata in Raya from the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) junta," the state of emergency task force, established by the federal government to watch over the ongoing military operations against the TPLF, said in a statement early Monday.
"The control of Almata by the ENDF is another demonstration that the operation to ensure rule of law is proceeding effectively with all the necessary cautions not to affect civilians," the statement read.
Since the early hours of Nov. 4, the Ethiopian government has been undertaking military operations against the TPLF, which rules over Ethiopia's northernmost Tigray regional state.
The federal government's operation followed the TPLF's attack on the Northern command base of the Ethiopian Defense Force, a division stationed in the region for over two decades and based in Mekelle city, capital of Tigray region.
According to the Ethiopian government, as the TPLF fighters were defeated in Alamata but took around 10,000 prisoners and fled.
The federal government also accused the TPLF of recruiting child soldiers, saying "residents say many youth above the age of 14 had already fled the area for fear of being recruited by the TPLF."
On Sunday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the ongoing military operation in Tigray regional state "is progressing well."
"Our campaign in the Tigray region to uphold rule of law is progressing well," he said. "Justice will prevail. Ethiopia will prevail."
"By advancing rule of law and holding accountable those that have been looting, destabilizing Ethiopia, we will lay the foundation for lasting peace and harmony.
"Those who are committing crimes against humanity and peace will be held accountable. We remain steadfast in our resolve to justice and rule of law," Ahmed said.
"Thanks to the exceptional valor and commitment of its sons and daughters, Ethiopia is more than capable of attaining the objectives of the operation by itself," he added.
In recent weeks, there have been rising tensions between Ethiopia's ruling Prosperity Party and the TPLF, with each side accusing the other of trying to destabilize the country.
The Ethiopian federal government has been frequently accusing the TPLF, which was one of the four coalition fronts of Ethiopia's former ruling party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), of masterminding various treasonous acts across different parts of the country.
Three of the former four EPRDF coalition members joined other regional parties last year in establishing the Prosperity Party, as the TPLF refused to join.
The escalating tensions between the federal government and the TPLF exacerbated in September this year, when the Tigray regional government decided to go with its planned regional elections, which the Ethiopian parliament had previously postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Enditem