Sources in Addis Ababa report that Eritrean special forces are operating in and around the city. Two groups – each as many as 100 strong – are reported to be in the capital. A third – smaller group – is said to be providing some close protection for PM Abiy.
The role of the two forces is said to be to monitor and act against the substantial Eritrean refugee presence in the capital. They are close to the military airport, allowing swift and easy transport back to Eritrea for those who are captured, or else to the Tigrayan frontline.
Some of the Eritrean refugees are long-term residents in Addis. Others were among the 96,000 who were in refugees in camps in Tigray, who fled to the capital after the camps were attacked by Ethiopian and Eritrean forces.
The suggestion that Eritrean forces are operating in Addis Ababa is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Eritreans have lived in the city since the time of the Empire and form a strong community. Members of the Eritrean opposition in Addis have expressed concern about their presence since 2018.
Eritrean government agents are present in every Eritrean diaspora community around the world, and Ethiopia is no exception. They work directly to President Isaias and are controlled by his closest associates.
In western capitals they do little more than monitor and at times harass opposition groups and extract taxation for the Eritrean government. In neighbouring countries – like Sudan (North and South) and Kenya – they are have indulged in kidnapping and murder.