All forces from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have been recalled home, the leader of Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region announced.
In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on December 19, Debretsion Gebremichael stated that his forces, which were reportedly closing in on the capital Addis Ababa, had been recalled back to Tigray to provide space for a push for peace negotiations from the international community.
Gebremichael said: “I am writing on behalf of the people of Tigray and the National Regional Government of Tigray to reiterate our call for peace,” adding that he ordered his units outside the borders of Tigray to withdraw to the borders of Tigray with immediate effect. “We trust that our bold act of withdrawal will be a decisive opening for peace,” he further said.
On Monday, TPLF spokesperson Getachew Reda expressed on Twitter that the withdrawal of its forces from both the Amhara and Afar regions was completed.
A comment on the TPLF’s move to withdraw its troops from key regions, in a bid to bring an end to hostilities in the country that have claimed thousands of lives, is yet to be made by the Ethiopian government, which had recently announced its retaking of certain local towns.
While many civilians are not getting access to humanitarian assistance, at least two million people have been forced from their homes due to the conflict in the Tigray region which has expanded to other neighboring areas. Thousands of others have been killed by both sides.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), acute food insecurity is now affecting more than 9.4 million people in northern Ethiopia. In the Tigray region alone, approximately 5.2 million people, roughly 90 percent of the population, are in need of humanitarian aid.