Wednesday, March 31, 2021
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Eritrean soldiers fight in Tigray admits Ethiopian prime minister

Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, finally admitted the obvious. Eritrean troops have entered Tigray to fight the forces of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and thus support the Addis Ababa regime against this movement which threatened to secede. This presence had been reported for months by residents, NGOs and diplomats, but denied by the two countries. This time Abiy Ahmed also acknowledges that he was fully aware of the military operation led by Eritrea. “The military campaign was against our clearly targeted enemies, not against the people. We have discussed this four or five times with the Eritrean government.”, the Prime Minister declared Tuesday (March 23) in front of the Ethiopian Parliament, reports AFP.

He said Asmara intended to respond to TPLF attacks against Eritrea, including rocket fire, and thus secure its border with Tigray. A violation of Ethiopian territory which did not pose a problem for Addis Ababa, visibly satisfied to find an ally in bringing Tigray to heel.

But if Abiy Ahmed finally recognizes the facts, it is because this alliance is becoming heavy to bear. Numerous abuses were committed by Eritrean troops, especially in the city of Aksum on November 28 and 29, 2020. Amnesty International denounces “extrajudicial executions, indiscriminate bombardments and widespread looting”. An action carried out jointly by the armies of the two countries.

Once the city fell, the Ethiopian soldiers apparently gave way to their allies at the time. “Eritrean soldiers have set about ransacking the city and systematically killing hundreds of civilians in cold blood, acts which could constitute crimes against humanity.”said Deprose Muchena, regional director of Amnesty International. Residents estimate that several hundred people were buried in the aftermath of the massacre.

Very heavy accusations that the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner had to condemn, even if his role in the case is more than ambiguous. “After the Eritrean army crossed the border and operated in Ethiopia, any damage it caused to our people is unacceptable”, solemnly declared Abiy Ahmed. But he did not go further in the condemnation, even assuring that Asmara’s troops would withdraw from their positions when the Ethiopian soldiers arrived.

Obviously, more is needed to sever relations between the two countries.

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