Thousands Kicked Off Contested Land In Ethiopia’s Tigray: Official

Around 60 trucks and buses carrying Tigrayans have arrived in the town of Shire, in the region’s North Western zone, from towns farther west since Saturday, Gebremeskel Kassa, chief of staff of Tigray’s interim government, told AFP. The vehicles carried at least 3,500 people and possibly as many as 5,000, though officials in Shire were still counting the new arrivals, Gebremeskel said, adding that the relocations were “continuing”.

Source: AFP

Authorities in Ethiopia’s Tigray on Monday accused security forces from a neighbouring region of kicking thousands of Tigrayans off their land in recent days, highlighting territorial disputes inflamed by the ongoing conflict.

Around 60 trucks and buses carrying Tigrayans have arrived in the town of Shire, in the region’s North Western zone, from towns farther west since Saturday, Gebremeskel Kassa, chief of staff of Tigray’s interim government, told AFP.

The vehicles carried at least 3,500 people and possibly as many as 5,000, though officials in Shire were still counting the new arrivals, Gebremeskel said, adding that the relocations were “continuing”.

He blamed security forces from neighbouring Amhara region, which borders Tigray to the south and has played a major role in securing large swathes of Tigray since fighting erupted in November.

“It’s clear that the Amhara regional forces are forcibly removing people of Tigrayan origin from (the western) region,” Gebremeskel said.

“We strongly condemn the forced removal of Tigrayan residents from western Tigray… They have to stop immediately,” he added.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, sent troops into Tigray in early November to disarm and detain leaders of the region’s then-ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

He said the move came in response to TPLF attacks on federal army camps.

Abiy leaned on forces from Amhara to secure western and southern Tigray after the TPLF retreated from those areas, and Amhara officials set up transitional administrations in multiple cities and towns.

It was a sensitive move, given that many ethnic Amharas believe the once-dominant TPLF illegally incorporated the fertile territories after it came to power in the early 1990s — and that they should rightfully fall under Amhara administration.

The Amhara regional government did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

In a statement in late February, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for an “immediate withdrawal” of Amhara forces from Tigray, drawing the ire of Abiy’s government, which called the demand “regrettable”.

Scant resources

Doctors Without Borders, which is present in Shire, has also observed a dramatic increase of new arrivals from farther west, up to 10,000 “in the last week to two weeks,” spokeswoman Kate White told AFP Monday.

The relocations appeared to have accelerated over the weekend, she said.

Shire housed tens of thousands of displaced Tigrayans and Eritreans even before the recent influx, many at informal sites including a primary school and a high school.

Resources are stretched thin, White said.

“We’re still not seeing systematic, regular food distributions,” she added, noting that food donations have mostly consisted of wheat and some cooking oil.

In a statement Friday, Doctors Without Borders said malnutrition at displacement sites in Shire was “concerning” but “not at emergency level yet”.

2 comments

  1. This dislocation of tigrians is very tragic. they have been target for the past 3 months and now they are getting kicked off. the Federal Government should feel shame. what is the federal government doing so far.. if I am not mistaken a free boarder commission was formed to solve such kind off problems from rising. the Government has to solve this problems from getting worse and make the Amhara forces to stop such kind of harassments.

  2. Another one sided trash. It’s not that some ethnic Amharas believe, rather it’s a fact of life that TPLF wheeled out an ethnic militia from Tigray in 1991 and forcably incorporated these lands. Wolkkait in 1991, and the rest Humera, Ttelemet, and Ttegedae in 1992. They promptly called it Western Tigray, ethnically evicted over half a million Amharas who moved to adjacent provinces of Gojjam and Wello, also southern parts of Gondar. That was 3 years before they even wrote the fake apartheid bantustan constitution. The land between Tekezae River and Sudan border has NEVER EVER been part of Tigray, ever. They also settled there tens of thousands of Tigres who fled to Sudan during the famine of 80s, plus other Tigres from Tigray. Together with the previous Tigre minority there over night the area end up with Tigre majority population. For example, the worst massacre of this conflict at MaiCadra, where 1,100 Amhara civilians were hacked to death was committed by Tigre youth group called Samri. Their parents moved there during that period of settlement from a town called Samre in southern Tigray. That’s why they adopt that name. They were born there, and fed lies, total ethnic hatred to Amharas by TPLF, and they did the unspeakable before fleeing to Sudan. So the Armenians in defense of Nagarno Karabah, ceased the land around it in 1990/91, now the Azaris fought back retrieved it, the Armens burn their house and were bused back to Shire. Got it?

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