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Ethiopian government says disarmament talks with Tigray forces have begun


(AP) — A joint committee of the Ethiopian government and Tigray forces has convened inside the Tigray region to outline disarmament plans as part of a peace deal signed last month in the two-year conflict, Ethiopia’s government said Thursday.

WATCH: Ethiopian government, Tigrayan rebels reach truce, but enormous challenges remain

Ethiopia’s conflict has seen more casualties than the war in Ukraine, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday on a visit to the country to meet with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Estimates by some health workers and academics say hundreds of thousands have been killed.

Ethiopia’s Government Communication Service said in a tweet that the committee started work Wednesday in the town of Shire. It is the first time both sides have officially held talks inside Ethiopia since the fighting began.

The peace agreement says Tigray forces will be disarmed within 30 days of the Nov. 2 signing, and Ethiopian security forces will take full control of “all federal facilities, installations and major infrastructure such as airports and highways within the Tigray region.”

However, Tigray officials say disarmament cannot start until Ethiopia’s government has removed fighters who have come from Eritrea and the neighboring Amhara region.

Tadesse Werede, commander of the Tigray forces, last month told reporters that “with these (Eritrean and Amhara) forces’ continued presence, it is difficult to even think about a disarmament issue.” Tigray officials were not immediately available for comment Thursday.

Ethiopian officials have not said whether fighters from Eritrea and the Amhara region are leaving Tigray. Neither is part of the peace deal. Last week, the African Union envoy helping to mediate the talks, Olesegun Obasanjo, openly called for the withdrawal of “foreign troops.”

Sources inside Tigray have alleged to The Associated Press that allies of Ethiopia’s military are looting and carrying out mass arrests inside the region.

Aid groups and Ethiopia’s government have said aid is reaching some parts of Tigray that were inaccessible in the past. Ethiopia’s communication service said three corridors are now being used to transport much-needed aid, but large parts of Tigray remain without electricity, internet or banking services.

After Guterres met with Ethiopia’s prime minister in Addis Ababa, the U.N. said Guterres “is fully committed to mobilizing the entire U.N. system to provide humanitarian support to all those who need it.”

1 thought on “Ethiopian government says disarmament talks with Tigray forces have begun”

  1. The disarmament should be conducted wisely so not to create another destructive problem. It is a natural outcome in a chaotic country like Ethiopia for crime of all kinds including murder to rise. That is my worries next if and after these politically incited conflicts come to an end. That is the reality we see in other countries that went through bloody conflicts and somehow end it all unprepared for what to do with it. Then that was followed by brutal gang groups whose members were former rebel fighters. Unless some radically different steps are taken we gonna see the people of Tigray being robbed, taken for ransom and murdered by battle hardened gangsters every day. The people in Oromia have already been living victimized on daily basis by the former fighters of OLF. These former rebels trained to be killers will not bother to walk all the way to the shores of Tadjoura or Libya to try their lot in the Arabian Peninsula or Europe but they will be content to stay in Tigray and Oromia laying siege on their own people. Just take a peek at El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia and Nicaragua and you will find them being ruled by ruthless gangs who were once members of rebel groups. Their heinous crimes have spilled over to neighboring countries and there is even evidence that it might have traveled all the way to USA and possibly into Canada. There are many such examples in Africa itself. There is a lot to learn from. Once a young and healthy person has the audacity to raise arms and take to the bushes it is going to be natural for him to have the audacity again to avail himself to another type of violence if he just got let go. Let’s hope and pray that this will not be the case.

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