(Source: HornTVNews.com, 03 January 2020) –
The new Mayor of the capital of Ethiopia’s Tigray regional State has admitted that Eritrean Forces are actively operating inside Ethiopia’s territory.
It is the first confirmation by a high-profile government official on the involvement of foreign troops in the conflict in Northern Ethiopia.
The video responses to questions from community members has been widely shared on Twitter and Facebook. Mekelle Mayor Ataklti Haile Selassie says “The transitional government is asking everyday why they [ Eritrean Soldiers] are here and they should leave.
“We have even held discussions with military personnel, and they gave an answer for that. They said it’s because the Ethiopian military that was based in the North was attacked and they came to support. They also told us they are working to make them leave within a short time. “ he added.
Both the Eritrean and Ethiopian governments have dismissed reports that the Ethiopian National Defence Forces were being helped by troops from neighbouring country. Last month, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed assured UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that there were no foreign troops fighting against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front TPLF Forces in Northern Ethiopia.
But numerous sources including foreign diplomats from the UK and the US say the reports of Eritrean troops in Tigray region are “credible” despite the denials from Addis Ababa.
Soldiers from Eritrea have been accused of killing civilians, looting and abducting some of the Eritrean who have been living in camps in Tigray for years.
It has been difficult to verify the claims as telephone and internet connection is still cut off in many parts of Tigray. Communications network has been down since November 4 when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered what he called “a law and enforcement “measure against leaders of the TPLF.
But his government has come under sharp criticism for denying journalists and humanitarian agencies access to the region, where millions are believed to be in dire need of food, water, health services and shelter.
Over the last few days the hashtag #TigrayGenocide has been trending on Twitter as the Ethiopian community particularly in the diaposra call to attention the alleged atrocities happening in Tigray region.
Last week the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urged Ethiopia to Provide unhindered access to whole of Tigray to protect civilians
“While we welcome the Ethiopian Government’s statement that there would be unimpeded humanitarian access, in line with the agreement with the UN signed on 29 November, this needs to be to all areas of Tigray where civilians have been affected by the fighting,” Bachelet said
“We have received allegations concerning violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, including artillery strikes on populated areas, the deliberate targeting of civilians, extrajudicial killings and widespread looting,” said the High Commissioner.
The conflict between Ethiopian federal forces and the TPLF is believed to have killed thousands and displaced tens of thousands other- many who have crossed the border into Sudan.
Mekelle Mayor Ataklti Haile Selassie responses to questions from community members, click the link below to watch the the video: