Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed confessed to letting the Eritrean army operate in Tigray. He says he regrets his choice and the abuses committed by these soldiers.
The Eritrean and Ethiopian armies have been accused of abuses in Tigray for several months. Faced with a very serious crisis, the region has become a “no man's land”. NGOs regularly denounce massacres of civilians and the presence of Eritrean soldiers. Numerous testimonies from refugees overwhelm the soldiers who came from Asmara. Corn Abiy Ahmed and Isaias Afwerki have always denied these allegations.
But on Tuesday March 23, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed finally admitted that Eritrean armed forces were present in the Tigray region. To parliamentarians, the Prime Minister confessed that Eritrean troops had indeed crossed the border to help Ethiopian forces fight against the Popular Front for the Liberation of the People of Tigray (TPLF).
Abiy Ahmed assures that the mission of the Eritreans was to be short-lived and that the soldiers of the neighboring country would withdraw from the region once it was stabilized by the Ethiopian army. But, remarks the Prime Minister, the intervention of Asmara had serious consequences. “After the Eritrean army crossed the border and operated in Ethiopia, all the damage it caused to our people is unacceptable. We do not accept it because it is the Eritrean army, and we would not accept it if it were our soldiers, ”he said.
In particular, the atrocities against civilians: massacres, but also rapes and displacements ... “The military campaign was against our clearly targeted enemies, not against the people. We have discussed this four or five times with the Eritrean government, ”says Abiy Ahmed, who seems to have lost control of operations, according to his comments.
But this admission also sounds like a failure for Addis Ababa. The Ethiopian Prime Minister had always denied the presence of Eritrean forces there. It was not until the testimonies multiplied that, finally, Abiy Ahmed agreed to describe the strategy that was his.
Pressure from the international community also played a role. The UN had called for an international investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity. Accused of "ethnic cleansing" in Tigray, the armed forces have never succeeded in pacifying the perimeter. People are still trying to flee the region and humanitarian aid is struggling to get there.