CrisisWatch Eritrea

Unchanged Situation

Significant Eritrean troop withdrawals from Ethiopia’s Tigray region occurred after progress on Tigray’s disarmament; Russian FM met with President Afwerki to boost support for war in Ukraine.

Eritrean troops withdrew from most major cities in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Ethiopia’s federal govt and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) continued to make progress on implementing peace accord (see Ethiopia). Notably, Tigray’s forces 10 Jan began handing over heavy weapons to Ethiopia’s federal military. Within days, Eritrea withdrew its troops from most major cities in Tigray. Notably, news agency Reuters 21 Jan reported that troops had left Shire (North Western Zone), while other witnesses reported their withdrawal from Adwa (Central Zone) and Axum (North Western Zone). Senior Ethiopian military officer Teshome Gemechu 28 Jan claimed “there is no other security force in the Tigray region except the Federal Defence Forces”. However, Eritrean forces reportedly retained presence in outskirts of some urban areas and in rural areas. Since it is not party to peace accord, which stipulates withdrawal of foreign and non-federal troops from Tigray concurrent with heavy weapons handover, Eritrea may retain military presence in region until TPLF’s full disarmament. Meanwhile, Tigrayan reports of Eritrean attacks on civilians and looting of properties in region continued to emerge during month.

Russian FM met with Eritrean leader in capital Asmara. President Isaias Afwerki 26 Jan met Russian FM Sergei Lavrov in Asmara during Lavrov’s tour of Africa to bolster support for war in Ukraine; Minister of Information Yemane Meskel said discussions centred on “dynamics of the war in Ukraine and enhancement of bilateral ties on sectors of energy, mining, information technology, education and health”.

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