ADDIS ABABA, 4 June 2021 – Ethiopian authorities say troops from neighboring Eritrea have started withdrawing from the Horn of Africa nation.

Asmara sent troops into the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray to fight alongside Ethiopian federal troops against soldiers of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Ethiopia Says Eritrean Forces are Withdrawing from Tigray - Photo Garowe Online

Ethiopia Says Eritrean Forces are Withdrawing from Tigray – Photo Garowe Online

Ethiopia's Tigray Region - Source AFP

Ethiopia’s Tigray Region – Source AFP

The withdrawal comes in response to sustained pressure by the international community, led by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations, for Eritrean soldiers to leave the country.

World powers have also called for an end to the violence in Tigray and for unfettered access to humanitarian aid workers seeking to provide emergency food aid to 5.2 million people in need.

A spokesperson for the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Billene Seyoum, cited reports from the defense ministry indicating that Eritrean forces had begun withdrawing.

Eritrea's Afwerki Hand in Glove with Ethiopia's Abiy Ahmed on Defeating the TPLF - Photo The Africa Report

Eritrea’s Afwerki Hand in Glove with Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed on Defeating the TPLF – Photo The Africa Report

Both Eritrea initially denied that it had deployed troops to Tigray and Ethiopia went along with the “big lie”, even as world powers insisted such was the case.

It took until March 2021 for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to admit that Eritrea troops were in Tigray – being five months into the war which erupted last November 4.

The war, now in its seventh month, started after Abiy Ahmed accused the now ousted and on-the-run leaders of the ruling TPLF of killing 50 soldiers in an attack on a military base during which they reportedly looted weapons.

TPLF officials have denied any wrongdoing.

Fighting has continued in the region although the Ethiopian Army claimed victory several months ago.

Ousted and on-the-run TPLF leaders have vowed “until the last man standing”.

Ethiopia Claims Eritrean Troops are Withdrwawing from Tigray - Photo L'Indro

Ethiopia Claims Eritrean Troops are Withdrwawing from Tigray – Photo L’Indro

On Thursday, spokesperson Billene denied allegations that Ethiopian authorities in Addis Ababa are deliberately starving Tigrayans into submission.

She accused Western powers of being “condescending in nature, often patronising in tone, belligerent in approach and destructive in the outcome”.

Thousands of people have been killed in the war in Tigray. Two million people have been displaced by the violence and over 100,000 have fled into refugee camps in neighboring Sudan.

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