About 1,000 soldiers, including senior military officers, kidnapped by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) on 4 November, have been freed in an operation conducted by the National Defence Force (NDF) and the Federal police, a senior military officer has said.
NDF Indoctrination Director-General, Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Tessema, was quoted by the state-owned Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) as saying that the TPLF leaders had kidnapped some 1,000 soldiers of the Northern Command after inviting them to dinner on November 4 .
“The fugitive TPLF junta had been running with their hostages for about a month, till they kept them at a place called Adet, which used to be a command base during the armed struggle,” he added.
However, in a joint military operation conducted by the NDF and the Federal Police, the soldiers, including the Operations Deputy Head of the Northern Command, Brig.-Gen. Adamneh Mengsite, were freed without any harm.
According to Maj.-Gen. Mohammed, “the operation to hunt, arrest and bring to justice the TPLF junta cliques has been intensified by the NDF and the federal police”.
The Ethiopian government launched a military offensive in the Tigray region on November 4, after months of a confrontation between the political leaders in Tigray and those in Addis Ababa.
The TPLF, whose leaders remained the dominant force in the defunct Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), walked out of the ruling coalition and later organised elections, which were not sanctioned by the government.
Political disagreements worsened when the government decided to cut off the release of budget funds from the federal government. The leadership in Tigray declared they did not recognise the extension of the tenure of the Federal Government, Members of Parliament and the Federal Executive.
The military offensive toppled the governing authority in the Tigray region, but the group has been promising to retaliate.