The Acting Mayor of Mekelle, the capital city of the State of Tigray, said yesterday that Eritrean troops have been involved in the conflict between the regional state and the Federal Government of Ethiopia.
The Acting Mayor, Mr. Ataklti Haileselassie, told community representatives in Mekelle that Eritrean troops were in Tigray and that he had spoken to relevant Ethiopian authorities about the matter. Mr. Ataklti added that he was working with the federal government on how to request Eritrea to withdraw its troops from Tigray.
You [referring to the people in attendance] are constantly asking us why the Eritrean troops are here. We’ve in turn forwarded your questions to the relevant military authorities and they have answered them. But you know why the troops are here. It is because the Northern Command, which was supposed to protect us from any aggression, was back-stabbed and attacked by the TPLF. But we’ve been told the troops will withdraw as soon as possible. It is wrong to presume or associate their presence with any nefarious motive.
This is the first time a government official has conceded the presence of Eritrean troops in Tigray. The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Mr. Abiy Ahmed, has in his latest appearance in parliament said that Eritrea was not involved in the conflict at all. It is not clear if Mr. Atakiliti’s admission to the contrary is a reflection of a change in position of the Ethiopian government or an inadvertent slip of the tongue on the Acting Mayor’s part. What is certain is that the Ethiopia’s Government hasn’t yet in public conceded the involvement of Eritrea in the conflict in Tigray.
Multiple media outlets have confirmed the presence of Eritrean troops in Tigray. The New York Times, to mention but one, has detailed the atrocities the troops have been committing.
It is to be recalled that the Federal Government of Ethiopia has been at war with the State of Tigray since Nov. 4, 2020.