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Eritrea’s role in the Ethiopian conflict

Eritrea’s President Isias Afverki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abi Ahmed

In a sign of the changing political fortunes of a man who was once sympathetic, Eritrean President Isaiah Afverki proved to be a staunch ally of Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Prime Minister Abi Ahmed and provided much needed support to fight against his troops. Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in Tigray.

The Nobel laureate, who recently addressed the Ethiopian parliament, said Eritrea, a highly militarized one-party government, was feeding, arming and arming Ethiopian troops when the DPLF first attacked and occupied bases in the Ethiopian region of Tigray.

Mr Abi said it was possible for them to return to fight the former guerrilla movement DPLF, which has about 250,000 troops, until it is ousted from power in the region on November 28.

“The Eritrean people have shown us … they are relatives who will stand with us in a difficult day,” he added.

Addis Ciss, 49, walks in front of his destroyed house in the village of Bisopar on December 9, 2020, in the Tigre region of Ethiopia
The conflict in Tigray has claimed the lives of many

Although he did not go so far as to admit that Mr Isayas had sent troops to defeat the DPLF, the longtime rival of the Eritrean leader who had been in power since 1993, this was Mr Abi’s significant acknowledgment. .

The hospital is said to have been shelled

The claim that Eritrean troops were fighting in Tigray was made by the TPLF, civilians fleeing the conflict, and Eritreans inside and outside the country.

“Isaiah sends young Eritreans to die in Tigray. The war will further weaken the economy. But Isaiah will remain in power for a long time.

A U.S. State Department spokesman said there were “credible reports.” Tigray claimed the presence of Eritrean troops and called it “grave development.”

Both governments, including Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed, have denied the allegations. Describes them as “propaganda”.


UN According to President Antonio Guterres, he said Mr Abi had assured him that there would be no Eritrean troops in Tigris, except for the territory that Ethiopia had agreed to hand over following the historic peace agreement between the two countries in 2018.

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The agreement ended the “no war – no peace” situation between the two countries after the 1998-2000 border war, which killed up to 100,000 people. It won Mr Abi the Nobel Peace Prize, and the region had not been transferred to Eritrea by the time the conflict in Tigris began in early November.

Mr Abby’s government has been criticized by the media, the UN Access to Tigray for agencies and human rights organizations has been severely restricted, making it difficult to verify reports or investigate allegations of atrocities against all parties to the conflict – including the shelling of a hospital from Eritrea.

Eritrea did not comment on the alleged shelling In a statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Mr Abi denies that his soldiers killed a civilian in Tigray.

“This war has been fought in complete darkness. No one knows the true extent of the conflict or its impact,” said Rashid Abdi, an analyst at the Horn of Africa in Kenya.

Eritrean forces were accused of looting

Alex de Vall, a US researcher, said in a statement that the conflict was the cause of “large-scale displacement” in the region, with the poorest population in Ethiopia at about five million.

“If this happens, there will be a mass hunger, angry and angry population in Tigray,” Mr de Wall said.

He said he had learned from credible sources in Tigray, including the clergy, that Eritrean forces were involved in the looting.

“We hear they even steal doors [and] Bathroom fittings, ”he said.

More about the Tigre crisis:

Other Eritreans said soldiers, including their relatives, were fighting DPLF forces on several fronts, some of them even wearing Ethiopian camouflage.

Eritrea insists there are no troops in Tigris, quoting its foreign minister: “We are not involved.”

But exiled former Eritrean diplomat Abdella Adam said he knew soldiers wounded in the war, while a source at the General Hospital in the southern Eritrean city of Senaf told the BBC that both Eritrean and Ethiopian troops were being treated there.

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‘Isaiah seeks DPLF dissolution’

Other Eritrean sources also saw Ethiopian troops re-mobilizing around the central city of Hagas and taking the wounded to the nearby Glass Military Hospital.

Gaim Gibreb, a UK-based Eritrean educator, said he believed the DPLF had sent troops to pursue Mr Isaiah Tigre to pursue the “dissolution”, which had been the Eritrean leader’s main objective since the 1998-2000 border war.

The DPLF was in power at the time in the central government of Ethiopia and the regional government of Tigre.

Military Tank Cemetery, Central Region, Asmara, Eritrea, August 22, 2019 in Asmara, Eritrea.
A military tank cemetery was built in Eritrea following the 1961-1991 war of independence

“During the 1998-2000 war, the TPLF humiliated the president [Mr Isaias] By capturing the small village of Batme. Despite an international tribunal ruling that the village belonged to Eritrea, the DPLF refused to leave the occupied territory for 18 years.

“The president is waiting for this moment, and the DPLF has underestimated his ability and patience at his own risk,” Mr Gaim added.

Missiles fired at Eritrea

Mr Isaiah’s supporters insist that Eritrean troops did not enter Tigray, claiming that they were pursuing the sole purpose of regaining sovereignty by seizing Batme and surrounding areas, without causing casualties.

Expressing a different opinion, Mr Palos said: “Batman is back in Eritrean hands, but there has been no public announcement about it because it’s not the main concern of the musicians. He is still trying to crush the DPLF.

“Abi started out as a pacifist and reformer, but then he fell into the trap of revenge against the DPLF, which is what Isaiah wanted.”

The girls nod and laugh
Celebrations erupted when the Ethiopia-Eritrea border reopened in 2018

Mr Abi says he tried to resolve differences with the DPLF peacefully, but was forced to act against it after capturing military bases in a night-time offensive on November 3, which convinced him that he wanted to overthrow his government.

Despite Mr Isias mobilizing for his help at the time, the Eritrean state media has plunged its audience into darkness about the conflict, even failing to report on the DPLF-launched missiles that landed in the suburbs of the capital, Asmara, in early November. Explosions heard by residents.

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“Eritrean television is talking about bombs in Syria, but it says nothing when the missiles land in Asmara,” said David Fische, a former deported Eritrean government official.

In a tweet, Yemeni Information Minister Yemeni Meskel said “it makes no sense to multiply it” [the TPLF’s] Last-ditch, predictable, though inappropriate actions “.

‘Refugees abducted’

Eritrea has low internet access and the country has no independent media and no opposition – The fate of 11 politicians and 17 journalists detained nearly 20 years ago is unknown.

Moreover, military coercion is mandatory when jobs are scarce, and as a result many – especially young people – leave the country. UN in Tigray About 100,000 people lived in the camps for many years.

The UN says it has received “numerous credible reports” that refugees were killed, abducted and forcibly returned to one state during the current conflict. The refugee agency said.

Although it did not say who was behind the abductions, a refugee told the BBC that Eritrean troops had loaded them into trucks in the city of Adigrad and taken them across the border to the city of Adi Kuala.

Eritrea has not commented on its involvement, but the UN has said no. The company has previously been accused of “smear campaigns” and trying to drive out the country.

Mr David said he did not believe the regime would ever be reformed.

There has been no change in Eritrea until now because the leadership does not want it and the demise of the TPLF will not change that. Expecting reform is a pipeline, “he added.