KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Ethiopian authorities say Eritrean troops have started withdrawing from Tigray, where they have been fighting on the side of Ethiopian forces in a war against the region's fugitive leaders.
Ethiopia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement late Saturday that the Eritreans “have now started to evacuate” Tigray and that Ethiopian forces have “taken over guarding the national border.”
It's not clear how many Eritrean troops have left, and some in Tigray assert that the Eritreans aren't leaving at all. Some of the region's leaders have charged that Eritrean troops sometimes dressed in Ethiopian military uniforms.
Ethiopia's government faces intense pressure to end the Tigray war, which started in November when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed deployed troops there following an attack on federal military facilities. The region's fugitive leaders do not recognize Abiy's authority after a national election was postponed last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The G-7 group of nations on Friday issued a strong statement calling for the “swift, unconditional and verifiable” withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Tigray after Abiy said last week the Eritreans had agreed to go.
That statement also urged “the establishment of a clear, inclusive political process that is acceptable to all Ethiopians, including those in Tigray, and which leads to credible elections and a wider national reconciliation process.”
There are increasing reports of atrocities such as massacres and rapes in the war, and concern is growing about a lack of food and medical care in Tigray, a region of 6 million people.