Tigray says demobilised 50,000 fighters under peace process

AFP , Thursday 27 Jul 2023

The northern Ethiopian region of Tigray says that more than 50,000 of its fighters have been demobilised under a peace deal it signed with the federal government that ended a bloody two-year war.

File Photo -Members of the Ethiopian National Defense Force who were captured by Tigray forces gather inside a prison where they are now held as prisoners of war, in Mekele, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, July 6, 2021. AP


Media close to both sides had announced on May 26 that demobilisation had begun among rebel forces. The number of Tigrayan combatants is not fully known.

"Over 50,000 former fighters (have been) demobilised as part of the peace agreement," the region's official television station, Tigray TV, said late Wednesday.

It quoted the deputy head of the interim government, General Tadesse Worede, who was Tigrayan military chief during the conflict.

On July 19, the official Ethiopian news agency ENA reported that around 50,000 former Tigrayan rebel fighters would be incorporated into the regular army this year.

The war in Africa's second most populous country killed untold numbers of civilians and forced about two million from their homes before it ended with a surprise truce in November last year.

Fighting has ceased and forces from Eritrea, which entered Tigray in support of the federal government, have largely quit the region.

The Tigrayan forces began to surrender their heavy weapons in January, and their disarmament is continuing, even though forces from the neighbouring region of Amhara, which also backed the federal army, still control western parts of Tigray.

Under the peace agreement, there would be a parallel withdrawal of Eritrean and Amhara forces from Tigray.

Northern Ethiopia remains deeply scarred by the conflict.

On July 4, the UN's humanitarian agency OCHA said an estimated 8.8 million people were in need of food assistance, in addition to millions of others in the Ethiopia's drought-hit south and southeastern regions.

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