NAIROBI (Somaliguardian) – A convoy of Eritrean troops withdrawing from Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region has come under heavy attack on Wednesday, more than six months after Eritrea’s incursion into the region to bolster Abiy Ahmed’s push to topple Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
An underground network in Eritrea known as Arbi Harnet or “Freedom Friday” said on Wednesday that it had received reports of Eritrean forces pulling out of northern Ethiopia after the country’s long-time serving leader ordered the move amid mounting international pressure for Asmara to stem its involvement in the war raging in Tigray.
Eritrea has been accused of impeding emergency humanitarian aid to millions of people in the region and reports of human rights abuses ranging from mass killings of civilians and torture – to gang-rapes perpetrated by its forces are on the rise by the day.
Soldiers told Arbi Harnet that two Eritrean divisions – the 57th and 16th – were being withdrawn from the war-wrecked region. Witnesses in the region also confirmed movement of more than 100 military vehicles near the town of Adwa.
Troops are said to be returning home after Ethiopian federal troops have taken over military outposts, bases and other areas they were manning, and it is unclear if this is the beginning of a complete withdrawal by Eritrean forces from northern Ethiopia.
There have been reports that the Eritrean convoy was ambushed near the town of Adwa by Tigray defense forces (TDF) and a vicious gun battle ensued that lasted for more than 5 hours, though casualties on both sides have not been immediately known.
Both Ethiopia and Eritrea have not yet commented on the attack and the movement of Eritrean forces said to be withdrawing after being implicated in dozens of massacres and other human rights violations.
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