Ethiopia: Eritrean Troops Pulling Out of Tigray

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Ethiopian authorities said on Saturday that Eritrean troops had started withdrawing from Tigray, where they have been fighting on the side of Ethiopian forces in a against the region’s fugitive leaders.

The Eritreans “have now started to evacuate” Tigray and Ethiopian forces have “taken over guarding the national border,” Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

It wasn’t clear how many Eritrean troops had left, and some in Tigray asserted that the Eritreans weren’t leaving at all. The region’s leaders have charged that Eritrean troops sometimes have dressed in Ethiopian military uniforms.

Ethiopia’s government faces intense pressure to end the Tigray war, which started in November when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed deployed troops there following an attack on federal military facilities. The region’s fugitive leaders have not recognized Abiy’s authority since a national election was postponed last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The G-7 group of nations on Friday issued a strong statement calling for the “swift, unconditional and verifiable” withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Tigray after Abiy said last week the Eritreans had agreed to go.

That statement also urged “the establishment of a clear, inclusive political process that is acceptable to all Ethiopians, including those in Tigray, and which leads to credible elections and a wider national reconciliation process.”

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