Tigray Army says they have released 1,000 captured soldiers2 min read
Armies in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia have released about 1,000 government soldiers captured during recent battles as the ruling party leaders prepare for a confrontation over disputed lands west of the region.
Debrezion Gebremichael, leader of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), told Reuters late Friday that he had released 1,000 low-ranking soldiers. “Over 5,000 soldiers will continue to be with us and as some of their senior officers will be facing trial. “
He said the soldiers were driven to the southern border with the Amharic region of Tigray on Friday, but did not say who received them or how their liberation was negotiated.
A military spokesman said he could not comment immediately on Saturday, and an Amhara local government spokesman said there was no information on the releases.
Spokesman for the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office and the Tigray Government Task Force did not answer for comments.
In November, when the government accused the TPLF of attacking military bases throughout the region, a fight broke out in Tigray.
The government declared victory three weeks later when it ruled the provincial capital Mek’ele, but the TPLF continued to fight.
At a dramatic turning point, the TPLF regained most of Mek’ele and Tigray at the end of June after the government withdrew soldiers and declared a one-sided ceasefire.
However, the TPLF has vowed to continue the fighting until it regains control of the conflict areas south and west of Tigray seized during the fighting by government allies from Amharic.
Abby said this week that the military would repel the threat of the TPLF and effectively abandon the self-declared ceasefire.
Amharic and three other regions said they were mobilizing troops to support the armed forces in the fight against the TPLF.
Thousands of people have died in the battle so far.
About 2 million people have been evacuated and more than 5 million are dependent on emergency food aid.
On Friday, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement condemning some aid aid groups who he says are ”arming the rebels”.
“Some agencies are actively playing a destructive role. We also confirm that they are using aid as a cover and arming rebels to prolong the conflict.”
The statement did not identify the group and there was no immediate response from the institutions operating in Tigray. The UN humanitarian organization OCHA did not respond to requests for comment.
The United Nations said checkpoints were blocking the urgent need for assistance as convoys passed through government-owned territories while the Ethiopian officials say aid needs to be checked before they can go through.