In what looks to be a preamble to another showdown, the Tigray People’s Liberation Force says it has freed 1000 Ethiopian soldiers and marched them to the border it shares with Amhara.
Leader of the TPLF, Gebremichael Debretsion told Reuters on Saturday that the soldiers were low ranking officials and the Tigrayan forces still had more than 5,000 Ethiopian soldiers in captivity.
He said the soldiers were driven to Tigray’s border with Amhara, a strong region in Ethiopia which shares a boundary with the northernmost Tigray. Local Ethiopian authorities are yet to confirm the claims of the TPLF who have been under the siege of the Ethiopian army since November.
Ethiopian soldiers, joined later by officials of the Eritrean army domiciled in Tigray for many months and wreaked havoc, including killing locals, raping women and girls and also stealing their resources and animals.
More than 2 million people were displaced as a result of the fight in the region, with hundreds of thousands killed and about 5million in need of food aid.
Thousands already face starvation in Tigray with the numbers set to rise if aid is not allowed in the region as soon as possible, although the Ethiopian government has accused aid givers of arming rebels, the TPLF.
“Some aid agencies have been actively engaged in a destructive role. We have also confirmed that they have been using aid as a cover and are arming the rebel groups to prolong the conflicts,” the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said.