NAIROBI, Kenya — A day after retaking the capital of the northern Tigray region of Ethiopia, rebel forces have indicated they have little appetite for a truce — threatening to drag out the brutal eight-month-long civil war that has embroiled the Horn of Africa nation.

Getachew Reda, a senior Tigrayan leader, said that Tigray’s forces would not hesitate to enter Eritrea, and even try to advance toward its capital, if that is what it would take to keep Eritrean troops from attacking again. And he claimed that in recent days, Tigrayan forces had killed many Ethiopian troops and militia fighters, and took more prisoners.

“We want to degrade as many enemy capabilities as possible,” he said in a telephone interview with The New York Times on Tuesday. “We are still in hot pursuit so that enemy forces will not pose a threat to our Tigray in any way.”

He spoke a day after the rebel forces, known as Tigray Defense Forces, retook the regional capital Mekelle in a stunning turnabout. It was a major blow to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, who last November launched an offensive into the region that he promised would be over in the span of weeks.

From the onset of the war, Tigrayans reported the involvement of Eritreans in the fighting after their towns were shelled from the direction of their northern neighbor. In the months since, Eritrean troops’ presence within Tigray has become widely known, and it became clear that Mr. Abiy had sought help from President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea in ousting the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, from power.

Since then, Eritrean troops have been accused of atrocities, including killings and sexual assault, and remained in the region even after Mr. Abiy said the soldiers had agreed to go home.

Mr. Abiy has also turned to ethnic Amhara militias for help, and they have been accused of ethnic cleansing and trying to seize what they consider lost territories for their group. Tigrayan militias have also been accused of committing atrocities against ethnic Amharas in the early days of the war.

But even as the Tigray regional government pushes on with the fight, it faces a daunting task on its own turf. The region is facing a long list of crises including huge numbers of people displaced, lack of water and education, and a famine in which millions face hunger and thousands of farmers lack seeds for cultivation during this planting season.



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