Image copyright AFP caption of the image Food aid distribution in Tigray feared
A battle bloody eight months for control of the northern Ethiopian state of Tigray has spread to the region vAfar birdie last week.
At least 20 civilians have been killed and 54,000 have been displaced, people say, as fears of a crisis grow humanitarian aid which is developing rapidly.
Several people in Afar told Hfrance.fr that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF) had killed civilians.
This accusation does not 'has not been independently verified.
La Hfrance.fr has also heard of numerous airstrikes targeting TPLF positions in Afar in recent days.
The TPLF is fighting the Ethiopian army and its allies in Afar, which s the Tigray. An Afar spokesman said Tigrayan fighters captured three districts of Afar this week.
Afar activists say there is an urgent need for food, water and shelter.
The TPLF were the region's government of Tigray until their ouster by federal forces andn last November. The TPLF has been designated a terrorist organization by the Ethiopian government, but the rebels say they are the legitimate regional government of Tigray.
What do we know about the fighting?
Several Sources in Afar told Hfrance.fr that TPLF fighters killed civilians in neighborhoods such as Yallo and Awra, as well as looted and burned houses.
A resident who fled Yallo district two days ago said some people were killed while attending a funeral.
A video circulating on social networks echoes this claim. An Afar inhabitant, translated by an Amharic speaker next to him, relates: "We were digging a grave with about 20 people. I lifted my cloth to let them know that we were civilians when they came. are approached, but one of them shot us. "La Hfrance.fr did not verify the claim.
A walletThe TPLF tweeted that the rebels were not at war with the Afar people, but with the Ethiopian leadership.
Why could Afar be a target for the rebels?
This is not the first time that the brutal conflict between the TPLF and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed 's federal forces have crossed Ethiopia's internal s. There has already been fighting in Amhara State, which at the start of the war seized the Tigrayan territory which Amhara claims to be its own.
But the Insecurity in the Afar region worries many Ethiopian observers that the conflict could turn from a regional crisis to a nationwide crisis.
"It 's very important " said Rashid Abdi, a Nairobi-based security expert in the Horn of Africa.
"Afar straddles several strategic highways: one connecting Tigray to [the rest of] Ethiopia Another is the main highway connecting Ethiopiaie in Djibouti.
Ethiopia is a landlocked country and 95% of its freight traffic uses this highway, he said. "If the TPLF takes over this corridor, it will cause serious disruption in Ethiopia.
Will Davison, Ethiopian analyst at the International Crisis Group, conjust that trade disruption could be the strategy behind the TPLF is offensive in Afar.
"The main objective was to build on the recent gains and fight in Afar, the federal and regional forces that Mr. Abiy had gathered to launch a new offensive on the Tigre, but one possible objective is to cut off the road to Djibouti - or at least to demonstrate that they have the capacity to do so, "he said.
"Another possible reason is that there may be an effort by the Tigrayan forces to try to improve humanitarian access in the region.
In How serious is the humanitarian situation?
The delivery of aid to Tigray has been extremely difficult in recent months, despite urgent needs.
On Thursday, the international authority on the classification of famine - the integrated phase classification (IPC) as it is known - 400,000 people in Tigray declaredre that hunger was catastrophic.
The IPC says four million people across Tigray, Amhara and Afar are in need of some kind of emergency assistance.
But the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) suspended aid deliveries along the Afar road after a 10-vehicle convoy to Tigray was attacked on Sunday.
The convoy was 120 km (75 miles) from the regional capital, Semera, when the attack took place. WFP says another convoy of more than 200 trucks containing food and other essential humanitarian supplies is currently waiting in the town - but it will not leave for Tigray until its safety is assured .
It is not known who attacked the WFP convoy, but Matt Bryden of think tank Sahan Research says it is likely that the local pro-government militias are to blame.
Meanwhile, the RhetoricPrime Minister Abiy Ahmed took a worrying turn. Over the weekend, he released a statement describing TPLF as "cancer." On Thursday, tens of thousands of supporters gathered in Addis Ababa to show their support for the military - some holding banners quoting Mr. Abiy's words.
"Unless dramatic change occurs soon, Ethiopia may be on the way to a failed state," Bryden said. "Five years ago the Ethiopian army was the most powerful in the region. The fact that it could not secure Tigray how quickly the situation deteriorated.
Learn more about the Tigray crisis in Ethiopia: