Troop withdrawal from Tigray region of Ethiopia was a planned one that happened in three phases, says Abiy Ahmed
For most Ethiopians, the withdrawal of the Ethiopian Defense Force from Tigray region of Ethiopia came after an abrupt decision from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration. The number of people who were shocked with the decision was considerably high, as it was seen rather as a consequence of military loss.
PM Abiy talked about it for a second time, this time before the parliamentarians, and he is saying it was a planned move that happened in three phases.
It is a three-phase process that took over a month, and we have securely evacuated heavy weaponry from the region, he added.
On whether the law enforcement operation, as the government calls it, was a success or otherwise, he said the threat that Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) initially posed to Ethiopia is neutralized and key leaders of the organization are either in custody or destroyed.
Allowing farmers to carry on their farming practices during the planting season was one of the reasons initially given to justify the unilateral ceasefire and the withdrawal of troops.
Recently, however, Abiy Ahmed added more explanations about the decision that shocked Ethiopians at first. He said that the TPLF had plans to keep Ethiopia in a protracted war to weaken Ethiopia. There was also a talk about other possible threats that Ethiopia should prioritize.
He told parliamentarians that if the Ethiopian government saw a reason to continue the war against TPLF, it had the means to do so including adequate forces to be deployed.
TPLF’s rejection of the ceasefire
In a statement issued on July 2, the United Nations Security Council said “The ceasefire announcement is an opportunity that all parties to the conflict, including the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, must seize and build upon, she said, urging the Tigray Defence Force to endorse the ceasefire immediately and completely.”
However, the TPLF has not yet accepted the ceasefire . Rather, on Sunday, it came up with seven preconditions to accept the ceasefire.
Among the preconditions are the withdrawal of the Amhara regional forces from what TPLF calls Tigray region – a reference to Wolkait and Raya, areas that the TPLF incorporated as apart from Tigray in 1991 after military victory over Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam.
TPLF also demanded the release of the Federal government budget for the region. The Ethiopian government announced sometime last week, that it has spent 13 times more the Tigray regional budget in the form of humanitarian assistance and reconstruction of the region. Apart from the spending, PM Abiy on Monday announced that more than 30 maintenance workers (from Ethio-Telecom and Electric power) had been killed by the TPLF.
Meanwhile, there are also reports of widespread human rights violations and summary executions in the region after the Ethiopian Defense force withdrew from the region following unilateral ceasefire.
Among the victims are Eritrean refugees residing in the refugee camps. Ethnic Tigreans who worked with the region’s interim administration that was installed after TPLF forces were defeated are also targets of the killings.