Ethiopia Says Amhara Regional Forces Start Leaving Tigray

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Ethiopia’s military says members of the Amhara region special forces have started leaving the country’s Tigray region two months after a peace agreement in the Tigray conflict.

The Ethiopian National Defense Force said Thursday that the Amhara forces who fought alongside Ethiopian federal ones had left the Tigray town of Shire, a key humanitarian hub, and surrounding areas.

The Amhara forces, like those from neighboring Eritrea, were not a party to the peace agreement signed in November, and the presence of both has been a major challenge to the deal’s implementation.

The announcement of the Amhara forces’ withdrawal came a day after Tigray forces said they handed over heavy military equipment to the Ethiopian government as part of the peace deal. The Tigray forces have been especially vocal about the need for the Eritreans to leave.

The Amhara forces’ withdrawal could not be independently confirmed. An African Union mission monitoring the deal could not be reached. It was not immediately clear whether the Eritrean forces were withdrawing as well.

The Amhara special forces, like all sides in the conflict, have been implicated in human rights violations in the fighting that began in November 2020. Members of the special forces still control western Tigray, which Amhara authorities have asserted is theirs. The peace deal left that volatile issue to be resolved “under the constitution.”