Tigray: Ethiopian PM says Eritrea will withdraw troops from border area


“The Eritrean government agreed to withdraw its forces outside the Ethiopian border. The Ethiopian National Defense Force will take over the surveillance of the border areas with immediate effect,” Abiy said in a statement. statement on Twitter after meeting with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki in the Eritrean capital Asmara.

The Ethiopian National Defense Force will take over the surveillance of the border areas immediately, Abiy said.

Thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed since November, when Abiy launched a major military operation against Tigray’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), dispatching national troops and fighters from Ethiopia’s Amhara region.

CNN previously reported that soldiers from neighboring Eritrea had crossed into Tigray and carried out extrajudicial killings, massacres, sexual violence and other human rights abuses.

Abiy claimed on Friday that the TPLF had provoked Eritrea’s military involvement by firing rockets at its capital, Asmara, and thereby inciting the Eritrean government to “maintain its national security.”

CNN was unable to independently verify the claim. The TPLF has denied starting the conflict and has accused Ethiopia and its Eritrean allies of genocide and other crimes against humanity.
Separate investigations by CNN and Amnesty International in February revealed evidence of massacres carried out by Eritrean forces in the village of Dengelat and the town of Axum.
And, last week, CNN and UK Channel 4 News published investigations into rapes used by Ethiopian and Eritrean troops as a weapon of war against women in Tigray.
View of the Wukro bus station, Tigray, on March 1, 2021.
On Tuesday, just days after the reports were released, Abiy said his government would hold accountable any soldier found responsible for rape or looting in Tigray, acknowledging that Eritrean troops were fighting alongside Ethiopian forces after months of denials. .

“Reports indicate that atrocities have been committed in the Tigray region,” Abiy wrote in a post on his Twitter account. “Regardless of the TPLF’s hype propaganda, any soldier responsible for raping our women and looting communities in the region will be held accountable for their mission to protect.”

Abiy received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for resolving a long-running conflict with neighboring Eritrea, which ended two decades of hostilities. Critics say the acclaimed Abiy peace agreement with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki laid the foundation for the two sides to wage war against the TPLF, their mutual enemy.

On Monday, the Eritrean embassy of the United Kingdom and Ireland responded to repeated requests for comment from CNN denying allegations of wrongdoing by Eritrean soldiers and denying that Eritrean troops were in Ethiopia.

CNN’s Gianluca Mezzofiore, Katie Polglase, Nima Elbagir, Barbara Arvanitidis, and Alex Platt contributed to this report.

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