As part of an African Union-led peace process, Tigray forces, who fought a two-year war against Ethiopia’s federal government, started transferring heavy ammunition to the national army on Tuesday.
Along with the restoration of services, the restarting of humanitarian aid, and the withdrawal of Eritrean troops, who fought with Ethiopia’s army but were not party to the ceasefire.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Tigray experienced conditions similar to starvation as a result of the conflict, which also left millions of people homeless throughout northern Ethiopia.
A monitoring team made up of representatives from the two sides and a regional organisation, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, oversaw the handover in the town of Agulae, which is located about 30 kilometres northeast of the regional capital Mekelle.
Mulugeta Gebrechristos, a representative of the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF), said during the ceremony that the beginning of the disarmament would be crucial to establishing peace.
“We are operating with the belief that if we are to have peace, all things that open the door for provocation must not be there. Peace is vital for us all,” Mulugeta said in a speech broadcast on Tigrai TV.
“We are all (part of) one Ethiopia. Both us and the TDF have moved from our respective defensive positions in peace, understanding and love,” said Aleme Tadesse, a representative of the Ethiopian army.
Late last month, Eritrean troops evacuated a number of significant Tigrayan towns but, in the opinion of locals, they have not yet left the country’s borders. Regarding whether or not troops will depart, Eritrea has refrained from saying.
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