Residents of Tigray say that Ethiopia’s allies – Eritrean troops and soldiers from the neighboring Amhara region – have not yet left, despite a pause.
Thousands of people demonstrated on Tuesday in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia to demand the return of people who lost their lives as a result of the two-year war there and the withdrawal of foreign forces now ending. that’s the conflict.
The war between federal troops and their allies from neighboring Eritrea and the Amhara region on the one hand and Tigrayan forces on the other, ended in a truce last November after killing tens of thousands you people.
Millions have been forced from their homes, including hundreds of thousands from the disputed land of Tigray and Amhara, whose security forces and fighters continue to occupy the area.
Eritrean troops – which were not mentioned in the truce – also remain inside Ethiopian territory in several border towns, according to humanitarian workers. Its government declined to comment on the matter.
Demonstrators rallied peacefully on Tuesday in several major cities, including the regional capital, Mekelle, Adigrat and Shire. They held signs with slogans such as “invaders must leave our homeland”, according to footage broadcast by Tigrai TV, which is controlled by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) party that runs Tigray.
Henok Hiluf, who participated in the protest in Mekelle, told the press that about 3,500 to 4,000 people demonstrated there.
The peace agreement has been held since November, with both sides acknowledging progress in implementing key provisions. Tigrayan forces have begun to disarm, an interim government has been established and many basic services have been restored.
But Tigrayan authorities complained about the continued presence of military forces outside. Last week, Getachew Reda, who heads the region’s interim government, said Eritrean forces had recently prevented a team monitoring the implementation of the peace agreement from carrying out their work.
Spokesmen for the governments of Eritrea and Ethiopia and the Amhara regional administration did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Following the signing of the ceasefire in November, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed pledged to “implement faithfully what we promised to make peace last,” while addressing the national parliament.
The war, pitted by Abiy’s government against the TPLF, is rooted in ancient grievances between political elites in ethnically-based regions, built over decades of brutal regime change, territorial disputes between regions and long periods of authoritarian rule.