UN: Withdraw Eritrea troops from Tigray, immediately
NEW YORK, US - The continued presence of Eritrea troops in parts of Tigray has yet again attracted concerns from the United Nations Human Rights Council, which now wants the soldiers to be withdrawn "immediately".
For the last eight months, Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF], Eritrea troops, and those from the Amhara regional contingent have been pursuing Tigray People's Liberation Front [TPLF], but in the process, the war has left thousands of people dead forced some 2 million others to flee their homes and driven about 400,000 into famine.
The council said Eritrean troops were "exacerbating the conflict" that continued Tuesday with the TPLF’s capture of Alamata, the main town in southern Tigray, according to AFP. The town’s reported capture came two weeks after the federal government declared a unilateral cease-fire, following rebel advances.
"What is happening in the Tigray region in Ethiopia is appalling," said Ambassador Lotte Knudsen, head of the EU delegation to the U.N., which presented the resolution. It is imperative for the Human Rights Council to be able to address this situation."
Filippo Grandi, the UNHCR chief, said in a statement that “The violence and intimidation of Eritrean refugees must stop. Refugees are civilians in need of and with the right to international protection.”
During the United Nations Security Council meeting, Eritrea voted against the U.N. resolution to immediately withdraw its troops from the region, which is also a key TPLF demand in cease-fire negotiations.
Fighting between the Ethiopian government and the TPLF broke out in November. Troops from Eritrea, Ethiopia’s neighbor to the north, and Amhara, a neighboring region to the south of Tigray, also entered the conflict in support of the Ethiopian government.
Already, the ENDF has withdrawn from most parts of Tigray following the declaration of unilateral ceasefire, but TPLF otherwise known as Tigray Defense Forces [TDF], claimed victory in the war after it recaptured Mekelle. But Addis Ababa maintains that the withdrawal was due to financial constraints and the need to give humanitarian teams access to Tigray.
The TDF vowed to pursue both the Eritrea troops and the Amhara regional forces as part of the revenge mission even as it gave a host of conditions for a ceasefire. On Tuesday, the troops flushed Amhara regional forces from Alamata, a town located in southern Tigray in Ethiopia.