AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - New joint call to lay down arms and end violence in Tigray

Wednesday, 7 April 2021 violence   armed groups  

Addis Ababa (Agenzia Fides) - "With immediate effect, the Ethiopian national defense forces will assume responsibility for border security": these are words espressed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in the recent report released by the Europe External Program with Africa ( EEPA) on March 26, regarding the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Tigray. Abiy himself had stated that "the junta that we had eliminated in three weeks has now shifted to a guerrilla force, has mingled with the farmers and started to move from place to place".
In the document of the EEPA, a specialized center on issues relating to peace-building, refugee protection and resilience in the Horn of Africa, released on March 26, Abiy stated that Eritrea has agreed to withdraw its troops from Tigray following the protracted conflict between the federal government of Ethiopia and Tigray State led by the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) political party.
The note sent to Agenzia Fides shows that, according to the EEPA, both countries "have reached an agreement, based on a spirit of mutual trust, to continue to strengthen bilateral relations and increase economic cooperation where possible".
Since the start of hostilities on 4 November 2020, the Tigrinya population has experienced an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and "everyone, including Eritrean refugees, has run out of food, basic life-saving medicines, water, have no access to essential services" as the same Bishop of the Catholic eparchy of Adigrat, Msgr. Tesfassilasie Medhin, declared (see Fides, 15/1/2021). According to local sources, the region is on the verge of famine, 50 to 100 people die of starvation and hunger every day, while the crisis and gun battles are also intensifying beyond the Tigrinya regional borders.
To date there are many countries and organizations, including the leadership of the Symposium of Bishops' Conferences in Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), members of the Ethiopian Catholic Bishops' Conference (ECBC), the Prelates of the Association of Bishops' Conferences members of East Africa (AMECEA), the Consolata Missionaries and Pax Christi International, who have called for a peaceful dialogue asking the parties involved in the war-torn region of northern Ethiopia to end the violence and lay down their arms. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 7/4/2021)