Attacks Tigrayan forces in the Afar region of Ethiopia forced more than 54,000 people to leave their homes, an official said, as eight-month conflict appeared to spread .
The Tigrayan fighters havetook control of three Afar districts this week, according to Ahmed Koloyta, spokesman for the region. Afar is strategically important as the main road and railway line connecting Addis Ababa, the capital of landlocked Ethiopia, to the seaport of Djibouti cross it.
Ahmed quoted some of the displaced as saying that Tigrayan fighters burned houses, looted property and killed civilians. He provided no evidence and Reuters was unable to independently verify his claims.
Getachew Reda, spokesman for the forces Tigrayans, did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment on the charges.
The leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF), Debretsion Gebremichael, said on Thursday that the Tigrayan forces were in Afar and that they were planning to target the forces of the neighboring Amhara Region , which is bat on behalf of the government.
He was not immediately available to comment on Ahmed 's claims.
The War broke out in November between TPLF, the ruling Tigray party, and the Ethiopian army. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared victory three weeks later when the military captured the regional capital of Mekelle , but the TPLF continued to fight.
He took back control of Mekelle and most of ite from Tigray at the end of June after the withdrawal of government soldiers. The other nine regions of Ethiopia have since announced that they will send forces to support the army against the Tigrayan fighters.
The conflict has sparked international criticism of Abiy and concerns for the stability of Africa 's second most populous nation.
Getachew said on Tuesday that Tigrayian forces will do "everything what it takes "to get the government to agree to their terms for the ceasefire negotiations. These include the complete withdrawal of government troops and their allies from the pre-war s of Tigray and the restoration of services such as electricity, telecommunications, transport and banking services.
Gunmen attacked a World Food Program convoy on Sunday, stopping the delivery of foodfood idea towards Tigray.