In addition to the reports by Bloomberg and Reuters (below) a friend told me that a contact in Shire had seen at least ten big trucks of Eritrean Defence Force trucks leaving, yesterday [Thursday]
- Pullout adds to signs that November peace deal is holding
- Ethiopia, Tigray authorities signed peace deal last month
By Simon Marks
December 30, 2022, 11:22 AM UTC
Eritrean soldiers are leaving major cities in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, the latest sign that a peace deal aimed at ending two years of conflict is holding.
Over the past 48 hours the troops were seen withdrawing by truck from the Ethiopian city of Shire and the town of Adwa near the northern border with Eritrea, said people who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to comment on the matter.
Ethiopian government spokesperson Selamawit Kassa declined to comment. Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel didn’t respond to questions about the withdrawal sent by text message. A spokesman for the Tigray government said he couldn’t confirm Eritrean troops had completely left the region.
Representatives of Ethiopia’s government and the dissident Tigray region signed a peace deal in South Africa on Nov. 2 to end a civil war that erupted in November 2020 and has left thousands of people dead. The truce sparked a more than 1,000-point rally in Ethiopia’s $1 billion of 2024 eurobonds, with the yield falling to 35.55% on Friday from 45.80% the day before the agreement.
During the conflict, Eritrean troops were blamed for committing widespread human-rights abuses including rape, indiscriminate killings of civilians and kidnapping. Eritrea — an ally of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and a foe of the Tigray authorities — had kept its forces in place after the peace deal was signed and they continued to fight on.
The Eritrean pullout comes as Ethiopian authorities restore services to the Tigray region.
Ethiopian Airlines resumed flights to the regional capital, Mekelle, this week and telecommunication services have been reconnected in major urban centers across the region. Earlier this week, Abe Sano, president of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, said in an interview with the state-run Ethiopian Broadcast Corp. that 20 branches of the bank in Tigray would reopen.
Representatives from Ethiopia and Tigray met in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, earlier this month and agreed to allow a team of independent African experts to monitor the implementation of the peace deal, according to a document summarizing the meeting seen by Bloomberg. The deal lays out terms for Tigray forces to disarm and stop recruitment, and for their troops to be sent to designated areas controlled by federal Ethiopian forces.
Eritrean soldiers leave major towns in northern Ethiopia – witnesses
[1/2] Field Marshal of the Ethiopian National Defence Force and Chief of General Staff of Ethiopia Birhanu Jula, and Tadesse Werede Tesfay, the Commander-in-Chief of the Tigray forces, sign the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement between the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan forces, laying out the roadmap for implementation of a peace deal, in Nairobi, Kenya November 12, 2022. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File PhotoRead more12
- Peace deal requires withdrawal of foreign troops
- Eritrean sodliers accused of abuses following ceasefire deal
- Progress made by Ethiopian govt, Tigray authorities implementing accord
ADDIS ABABA, Dec 30 (Reuters) – Eritrean soldiers, who fought in support of Ethiopia’s federal government during its two-year civil war in the northern Tigray region, have pulled out of the major towns of Shire and Axum and headed toward the border, three witnesses told Reuters.
The withdrawals follow a Nov. 2 ceasefire signed by Ethiopia’s government and Tigray regional forces that requires the removal of foreign troops from Tigray.
Eritrea, however, was not a party to the deal, and its troops’ ongoing presence in major Tigrayan population centres has raised questions about the durability of the accord.
It was not immediately clear if the Eritrean troops were leaving Tigray entirely or just pulling back from certain towns. Eritrea’s Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel told Reuters he could neither confirm nor deny the troops were withdrawing.
Getachew Reda, a spokesperson for the Tigrayan forces, and Ethiopian national security adviser Redwan Hussien did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.
Aid workers in Axum and Shire said they saw several trucks and dozens of cars packed with Eritrean soldiers on Thursday leaving toward the border town of Sheraro. One of the aid workers said the soldiers were waving goodbye.
Tigray residents have accused the Eritrean soldiers of continuing to loot and arrest and kill civilians after the ceasefire.
Eritrean authorities have not directly responded to the allegations.
During the war, Eritrean troops were accused by residents and human rights groups of various abuses, including the killing of hundreds of civilians in Axum during a 24-hour period in November 2020. Eritrea rejected the accusations.
Eritrea continues to consider the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which leads Tigrayan forces, its enemy. Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a border war between 1998 and 2000, when the TPLF dominated the federal government.
After a slow start, Ethiopia’s government and Tigrayan authorities have taken several steps in the past week to implement the peace deal.
On Thursday, representatives from both sides met in Tigray’s capital Mekelle to set up a monitoring team to assess progress on the disarmament of Tigray forces, the restoration of services and humanitarian aid, and the withdrawal of foreign troops.
Federal police also entered Mekelle in accordance with the truce, state-owned Ethiopian Airlines resumed flights and Ethio Telecom reconnected its services to the capital and 27 other towns.
It is much better than the devastation occuring before the peace deal.Human Rights issues must be dealt now and the people commiting those attriotes must be dealt according thei crimes.