AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Disengagement of the Tigrinya forces: silence of arms for a peaceful return to daily life

Monday, 5 December 2022

Addis Ababa (Agenzia Fides) - The diplomatic breakthrough that led to the signing of the peace agreement on November 2 in South Africa and the disarmament agreement of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), signed November 12 in Kenya, is producing significant results in many conflict areas. Neblet, Maikinetal, Cherecher, Beri Teklay, Hugumburda, Zalambessa and Abergele are some of the localities where the Tigray Forces (TDF) withdrew to let the Federal Army troops (ENDF) enter.
Just over a month after the end of hostilities in the Tigray region, fundamental steps towards peace have been taken: according to statements by General Tadesse Werede, Commander-in-Chief of the Tigray Defense Forces, 65% of his forces withdrew from many areas of conflict. The general said the recent disarmament meeting, held on December 1 in Shire, northwestern Tigray, is moving the peace process forward and it was important that senior military officials from both parties meet in Ethiopia (see Fides, 3/12/2022). "We have acted in a way that maintains the commitment to the agreement we signed. The monitors and other monitoring mechanisms mentioned in the agreement have not yet been included," he added. Tedesse also said that some troops remained on the front line, without specifying the locations, and that they would only be withdrawn when conditions are safe for the civilian population. The general urged federal army troops to work for the withdrawal of Eritrean and Amhara troops, saying none of them left the war zone.
According to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's office, federal government authorities are already gradually providing humanitarian aid, medical assistance and the repatriation of displaced people. Another milestone was the allocation by the European Union of $33 million to repair some 8,500 schools damaged during the war. EU Ambassador to Ethiopia Roland Kobia said the money would allow two million children to return to school and relaunch a school feeding programme.
However, uncertainties remain in the areas where the Eritrean and Amhara troops are present: "the peace process has not yet guaranteed full and unrestricted access to the medical aid that the people of Tigray need".
This is what Mike Ryan of WHO said, on the fact that aid workers have not been able to reach areas in western Tigray controlled by militias, along with other areas controlled by Eritrean forces. (GF) (Agenzia Fides, 5/12/2022)