Tigray rebels begin handing in heavy weapons to Ethiopian army
Rebels in the Tigray region have begun handing in their heavy weapons, a key part of an agreement signed in November last year to end a grueling conflict in northern Ethiopia, a spokesman for the rebel authorities said.
The disarmament is a key part of the peace deal signed two months ago between the government and the rebel group. The handover in the town of Agulae, about 30km northeast of Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray region, was overseen by a monitoring team comprising members of the two sides and a regional body, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The terms of a peace agreement signed include restoring federal authority, reopening access and communications to the region, which has been cut off since mid-2021, and disarming rebel forces
“We are operating with the belief that if we are to have peace, all things that open the door for provocation must not be there. Peace is vital for us all,” Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) representative Mulugeta Gebrechristos said at the handover ceremony. A subsequent 12 November deal on the implementation of the peace agreement said the disarmament of heavy Tigrayan weapons would take place at the same time as the withdrawal of foreign and non-federal forces. While the precise toll of the conflict, which was largely fought amid media restrictions, is unknown, it has been described as “one of the deadliest in the world” by the International Crisis Group think tank and rights group Amnesty International.