Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed Confirms Eritrean Troops Entered Tigray During Recent Conflict | March 2021

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Footage from:

. Bizet, Tigray Region, Sunday, March 14th 2021.
Eritrean tank and vehicle convoy of troops wearing Eritrean Uniform.

. Shire, Tigray Region, Tuesday, March 16th 2021.
Wreckage of

. Addis Abba, Ethiopian Capital City, Tuesday, March 23rd 2021.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaking from a podium in the Parliament Meeting Hall.

Reuters Text:

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed confirmed for the first time on Tuesday (March 23) that troops from neighbouring Eritrea entered the northern Tigray region during the five-month-old conflict.

It was the first such acknowledgement after months of repeated denials from the governments of both Eritrea and Ethiopia of Eritrea’s involvement in the war.

Reports from rights groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International documented the killings of hundreds of civilians by Eritrean soldiers in the holy city of Axum.

In a parliamentary address, he also acknowledged for the first time that atrocities like rape had been committed during the fighting, and promised perpetrators would be punished.

Abiy said Eritrean troops had crossed the border because they were concerned they would be attacked by Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces.

TPLF repeatedly fired rockets at Eritrea after the conflict began in November. It dominated Ethiopia’s government for nearly three decades until Abiy came to power in 2018, and has long been an archenemy of Eritrea.

Dozens of witnesses in Tigray told Reuters that Eritrean soldiers routinely killed civilians, gang-raped and tortured women and looted civilian households and crops. Some provided images of Eritrean trucks loaded with household goods.

(Production: Lisa Keddie, Avivit Delgoshen)

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(SOUNDBITE) (Amharic) ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER, ABIY AHMED, SAYING:
“The reason they (Eritreans) show their presence is because they have a national security concern. We also informed the Eritrean government they are being accused of wrong doings, looting and other things. The Eritrean government strongly denounced these allegations and said it will take strong measures on any of its soldiers who are found guilty of these accusations.”
VARIOUS OF PARLIAMENT MEMBERS LISTENING
(SOUNDBITE) (Amharic) ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER, ABIY AHMED, SAYING:
“There is evidence of wrong doing, like raping women and looting of property. We undertook a week-long evaluation on these with the National Defence Army. We just completed it yesterday. Any soldier and member of the National Defence Force who raped our Tigrayan sisters or looted property will be held accountable by law.”
VARIOUS OF PARLIAMENT MEMBERS LISTENING
(SOUNDBITE) (Amharic) ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER, ABIY AHMED, SAYING:
“Civilians could be highly harmed in these types of situations. The best solution would have been not to start a war. There will always be collateral damage in a war. Once you start a war, you cannot claim there is no slapping in the face. Foul only exists as a rule of engagement in a boxing ring. is a very bad thing once you are in it.”
MEETING IN PROGRESS
MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA
(SOUNDBITE) (Amharic) ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER, ABIY AHMED, SAYING:
“We are not interested in a because of the lessons we took from the war with Eritrea. We fought with Eritrea, killed hundreds of thousands and then UN came and took the matter to their hands. The result was what you know. Also, if we kill each other some other force will come and tell us to stop. That is inevitable. Whether an Ethiopian dies or the Sudanese dies, it is a loss for Ethiopia and Sudan. Sudan is not in a situation to fight with its neighbour in its current situation. Ethiopia also has a lot of its own problems to fight with Sudan. It is unnecessary for both of us. It is better to solve it peacefully and through dialogue. That is under way and I am hopeful it will be solved.”

Source: Reuters News.