Eritrean soldiers depart major towns in north Ethiopia: Report
The withdrawals from the towns follow a Nov. 2 ceasefire signed by Ethiopia's government and Tigray regional forces that requires the removal of foreign troops from Tigray.
Eritrean soldiers were on Friday (December 30) pulling out of two major towns in Ethiopia's Tigray region, reported Reuters citing witnesses. In Ethiopian civil war, Eritrean troops have fought in support of Ethiopia's federal government.
The withdrawals from Shire and Axum follow a Nov. 2 ceasefire signed by Ethiopia's government and Tigray regional forces that requires the removal of foreign troops from Tigray.
Eritrea, however, was not party to the deal. Presence of Eritrean troops in major population centres in Tigray has raised questions about durability of the accord.
Eritrea's Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel told Reuters he could neither confirm nor deny the information, while an Ethiopian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed Eritrean troops were withdrawing from Axum and Shire.
Aid workers in Axum and Shire reportedly saw several trucks and dozens of cars packed with Eritrean soldiers leaving towards border town of Sheraro.
One of the aid workers said all of the Eritrean soldiers had left Shire, but another said that a significant number had remained behind. It was not immediately clear what explained the discrepancy.
Tigray residents have accused the Eritrean soldiers of continuing to loot and arrest and kill civilians after the ceasefire.
Eritrean authorities have not directly responded to the allegations.
During the war, Eritrean troops were accused by residents and human rights groups of various abuses, including the killing of hundreds of civilians in Axum during a 24-hour period in November 2020. Eritrea rejected the accusations.
(With inputs from agencies)
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