Eritrea admits presence in Ethiopia’s Tigray, tells U.N. withdrawing

Source: Reuters

Michelle Nichols
A burned tank stands near the town of Adwa, Tigray region, Ethiopia, March 18, 2021. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo

A burned tank stands near the town of Adwa, Tigray region, Ethiopia, March 18, 2021. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo

Eritrea told the United Nations Security Council on Friday that it has agreed to start withdrawing its troops from Ethiopia’s Tigray region, acknowledging publicly for the first time the country’s involvement in the conflict.

The admission in a letter to the 15-member council – and posted online by Eritrea’s Ministry of Information – comes a day after U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock said the world body had not seen any proof that Eritrean soldiers have withdrawn.

“As the looming grave threat has been largely thwarted, Eritrea and Ethiopia have agreed – at the highest levels – to embark on the withdrawal of Eritrean forces and the simultaneous redeployment of Ethiopian contingents along the international boundary,” Eritrea’s U.N. Ambassador Sophia Tesfamariam wrote.

Eritrean forces have been helping Ethiopian federal government troops fight Tigray’s former ruling party in a conflict that began in November. However, until now Eritrea has repeatedly denied its forces are in the mountainous region.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last month acknowledged the Eritrean presence and the United Nations and the United States have demanded that Eritrean troops withdraw from Tigray.

“Neither the U.N. nor any of the humanitarian agencies we work with have seen proof of Eritrean withdrawal,” Lowcock told the Security Council on Thursday. “We have, however, heard some reports of Eritrean soldiers now wearing Ethiopian Defense Force uniforms.” read more

The conflict has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands more from their homes in the region of 5 million.

Lowcock said there were “widespread and corroborated reports of Eritrean culpability in massacres and killings.” Eritrean soldiers opened fire in an Ethiopian town on Monday, killing at least nine civilians and wounding more than a dozen others, a local government official told Reuters.

The Security Council has been briefed privately five times since the conflict began. According to Lowcock’s briefing notes on Thursday, he told the body that sexual violence is being used as a weapon of war, the humanitarian crisis has deteriorated in the past month and people are now dying of hunger in Tigray.

“We heard false allegations of the ‘the use of sexual violence and hunger as a weapon’,” Tesfamariam wrote on Friday. “The allegations of rape and other crimes lodged against Eritrean soldiers is not just outrageous, but also a vicious attack on the culture and history of our people.”

She said the priority should be the delivery of aid to civilians in Tigray.

6 comments

  1. These guys are liers to the bone. They have tons of silly tricks up thier sleeves. What ever they say must be varifiable by independant bodies. This withdrawal is also very time sensitive. It must happen AASP, other wise it is meaning less.

  2. It is a surreal world: Imagine the porch-pirate, Eritrea, as an NGO! Imagine her insolence emphasizing the “priority of delivering aid to civilians in Tigray.”

  3. The Eritrean regime, Africa’s North Korea, is given the opportunity to stay in power by the international community. This vicious mafia group is menace to the Horn of Africa and the rest of the world. Eritreans have suffered under this regime. Now the suffering is being exported to Tigray, Ethiopia

  4. This is a sadistic and mind-boggling manifestation of the insane taking over the Asylum. It’s as if Orwell’s Animal Farm spontaneously came to life and all you can do is watch in horror until the righteous people of Tigrai put the animals back in the barn where they belong! Of course, what is absolutely galling is for the women in Esias and Abbiy’s cabinets to knowingly stand on the violated and mutilated bodies of Tigrian women- mothers and girls, in a cowardly and desperate effort to retain power. Shame on you Sofia, Sahle-Work, Blen and all the rest- history will be less kind on your banality of evil than on your truly evil Overlords- Isias and Abiy. May the Lord show mercy on your souls but may the women of Tigria never forgive and forget your silence and complicity in the unspeakable crimes committed against them. Sam.

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