No official death toll has emerged since the fighting began in early November between the Ethiopian federal forces and the toppled Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
According to affiliates of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), at least 52,000 Tigrayan fighters have reportedly died since war broke out in the northern Tigray state of Ethiopia. The breaking news was announced online by members of the fringe Natsnet group made up of former TPLF members, and gained popularity after the TPLF lost power in Addis Ababa in 2018.
Among the 52 thousand Tigrayan soldiers who died, the majority are believed to be from the regional militia and the rest from its “special elite forces.”
The Natsnet group, also known as “Tigray Independence Party” (TIP), have previously advocated for Greater Tigray statehood and participated in the unauthorized recent election where TPLF won over 98%.
While advocating for secession, many members of the Natsnet-TIP group remained inside TPLF as regional officials concurrently. Analysts believe this extremist group played a big role in pressuring TPLF moderates to pursue confrontational stance against the Ethiopian federal government, which led to the attack on ENDF camps in November.
Out of the 52,000 Tigrayan combatants, most of them are believed to have died during early battles against Amhara and Afar special forces.
Several TPLF commanders and top officials have also died, including Seyoum Mesfin who famously declared “we will turn Ethiopia into Syria,” in October before the conflict began.
Currently, the former Tigray President Debretsion Gebremichael has reportedly called for more war in Tigray. Having already lost the war, experts believe the TPLF remnants want to sabotage the new Tigray government thru assassinations and an insurgency to block the movement of goods and humanitarian aid.