Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed started a civil war.

According to Ethiopia Observer Debretsion Gebremichael, Tigray’s regional president said there are clashes on the southwestern part of Tigray along with the Amhara region border. Speaking on Tigray region’s television Thursday morning two days after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered military operations there in an escalation of a long-running feud,

Debretsion said fighting continued along the border with Amhara until yesterday. He did not mention the exact places nor if there casualties and deaths. He said the Amhara region special forces joined forces with the federal army to fight with the Tigray region’s special forces. Debretstion also accused the federal government of deploying troops in the border along the Afar region.

The president also said Tigray forces have seized control of the artillery and equipment of federal military northern command located in the region.

“The people of Tigray should not be attacked with the weapons gathered in Tigray. We are now fully armed. We are not inferior to them in weapons; Maybe we are better,” he said. Members of the Federal Defense Forces stationed near the border crossed the Eritrean border through Adiabo, Debretsion said.

“This indicates the collusion between the Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders to target the region,” he said. Members of the armed forces have been ordered to relocate from Tigray to Eritrea, he said.

According to The Associated Press, Ethiopia’s conflict in its powerful Tigray region continued Thursday after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told the nation the military will carry out further operations this week in response to an alleged deadly attack on a military base by the regional government.

Communications remained cut off in the northern Tigray region after services disappeared at just around the time Abiy’s office first announced the attack and military action early Wednesday. The lack of contact has challenged efforts to verify the Ethiopian federal government’s account of events.

“Certainly there is fighting, but I don’t think anyone can credibly assert who attacked who first,” former U.S. diplomat Payton Knopf, a senior advisor with the United States Institute of Peace, told the AP on Wednesday night. He wondered why the well-armed Tigray region’s forces would start by raiding a command post: “They’re not lacking for weaponry.”

Observers warn that a civil war in Africa’s second most populous country, involving the heavily armed Tigray region, could destabilize the already turbulent Horn of Africa. The prime minister, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his sweeping political reforms, now faces his greatest challenge in holding together a country of some 110 million people with multiple ethnic and other grievances.

Aid organizations and human rights groups are pleading for communications links to be restored and warning of a humanitarian disaster if hundreds of thousands of people flee fighting in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ethiopia has imposed a six-month state of emergency on the Tigray region, which played a dominant role in the country’s government and military before Abiy took office in 2018. Since then the region, feeling marginalized, has split from the ruling coalition and defied Abiy by holding a regional election in September that the federal government called illegal.

Tigray borders Eritrea, which fought a bloody border war with Ethiopia before the countries made peace in 2018, shortly after Abiy took power. The Tigray regional government, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, has accused Eritrea of teaming up with Ethiopia’s federal government in this week’s offensive. Eritrea’s information minister did not respond to a request for comment.