Reality on the ground versus media hoodwink of Non-ENDF forces withdrawal from Tigray
By Addis Moges
Tigrai Online 1/20/2023
It is so paradoxical. On one hand we heard and read the withdrawal of the non-ENDF forces, the Eritrean Army and the Amhara Milita, Fano and Special forces, from Tigray. This is the drama played by both international and local media. The residents of many cities in Tigray are, however, witnessing the presence of these forces in the region. Although some media have reported the withdrawal of these brutal forces that have been abominating the people of Tigray from the region, residents witnessed their presence.
Now, nearly three months have passed since the signing of the peace agreement in South Africa, Pretoria in which both the federal government and the Tigray authorities agreed to abide by. Of course, it is undeniable that there are some optimistic steps since then. A few of the affirmative steps among many other include the visit of federal high-level delegation, partial resumption of services, increased flow of humanitarian aid, launch of African Union Monitoring, Verification and ComplianceMission (AU-MVCM), disengagement and disarmament of Tigray combatant and the handing over of heavy weapons could be considered as hopeful momentous development in employing the peace deal aimed to inverse the thorny of the people in the past two years.
It has now becoming vivid to the international community and the mediators that the move towards implementing the signed peace pact is full of thorn. One of the major thrones is the delays of the non-ENDF forces in Tigray and the silence of respected responsible bodies instead of taking actions immediately. The Amhara forces are crying for “ancestor restoration” , and have continued narrating fabricated narrations.
According to the agreement made between the federal government and the Tigray authorities, the issue Alamata, Korem and “Wolqait will be resolved by the Constitution of the country. According, these areas should be turned to their status before the war between Tigray and the federal government along with its allies began.
This would be any disputes on these areas; the agreement has already defined to be addressed in line with the constitution. In connection to this, the peace agreement document on its Article2/b stated that legality and respect of constitutional norms and principles enshrined in the FDRE constitution. Accordingly, there will be a status quo ante in northern Ethiopia; everything will be turned back to what it was before the 2020. In other words, the areas claimed the Amhara will be administering under Tigray region. If there is any cases related to boarder will be handled in line with Article 48 of the constitution. And that will possibly take place when the state council in passed a decision on it and that will obviously be done after the coming election of regional state council.
Hence, there is no reason either for the Amhara forces or the Eritrean army to stay in Tigray and commit more rights violations. As the withdrawal of foreign forces from Tigray is among the delayed ones, it would be essential for the federal government responsible to execute this issue act and contribute to facilitate the implementation of the peace deal.
Although the AU-MVCM confirmed the disengagement of TPLF combatantsand the handing over of heavy weapons; however, it has not yet verified the withdraw of these forces. Major General Steven Radina, head of the team, displayed his visit to a mechanization garrison at Agula, witnessed the handing over of heavy weapons to ENDF. The team also verified the disarming of Tigray combatants .
However, the Eritrean Army and the non-ENDFforces have misleading the international community using various media covering their withdrawal. The point of contention here is that the government hasn’t yet walked the talks rather engaged in deliberate mischief.
Previously, Legesse Tulu, minister of government communication, said the Eritrean Army will pull out from Tigray after the disarmament of the Tigray combatants. Ambassador Redwan Hussain also repeated the same that he said the Eritrean Army will withdraw following the disarmament TPLF. Contradictory to the peace deal, the minister emphasized, “… until we reinforce ourselves, TPPLF will disarm its combatants just until we confirm that we will not be attacked, whoever is behind us we tell to leave out”. This seems a thoughtful misinterpretation of the signed peace agreement, which stated the concurrent execution of the disarmament of Tigray fighters and the withdrawal of the Eritrean Army and the non-ENDF forces from Tigray.
Besides, Issayas Afeworki made vivid that his army has been making preparations for what he called “strong defense”. In his 2023 New Year text message, he underscored that Eritrea was preparing for a stronger defense. Althoughthe concomitant executionof withdrawal and disarmament is inked, the federal government continued misinterpreting the agreement.
Here is the paradox. On one hand, the federal government disposes its commitment to implement the peace pact. On the other hand it remained silent while those aforementioned forces have elongated their stay in Tigray and continued their baric deeds upon innocent civilians. This double face has created confusion among the society. And it is the major reason for the delay effective peace deal implementation. It is crucial that the presence of these non-ENDF forces in the region at a narrow scope and might cause the collapse of the deal at a wider scope. Therefore, it is high time for the AU-MVCM to act soon on the withdrawal of the forces from the region as it is the milestone for the effective implementation of the overall peace deal, if not that will continue being a tailback in the bright peace deal execution process.
The concurrent execution of the disarmament and the withdrawal must be monitored and verified. Moreover, the federal government must call a spade a spade in briefing different sectors of the society in connection to the extraction of these forces. The federal government has to shoulder its responsibility to force the invaders out of Tigray instead of misinterpretations, which will be dangerous to the expectant moves. Both parts must walk the talks. Concomitant implementation of disarmament of the Tigray forces and the withdrawal Eritrean army and non-ENDF binding and should be carried out immediately as well as verified by the AU-MVCM. It is of paramount importance to consider what is reality on the ground instead of confusing by the media hoodwink about the withdrawal of these force from Tigray. The people are still under control of these merciless forces who burned a person alive, stoned people to death, rape under and above aged females and looting all kinds of property.
You might also like this article
How Eritrea Destabilizes the Horn of Africa Region
Isaias is not content to put only Ethiopia under his thumb. Recently, he also sponsored unrest in Djibouti and sought to interfere in the tense situation in Sudan.