Ethiopia, TPLF agree rebels to ‘disarm’ if Eritrea troops leave

Field Marshall Birhanu Jula and TPLF’s Lt Gen Tadesse Warede The Ethiopian government on Saturday agreed with commanders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) that the rebel fighters would disarm once Eritrean troops leave the war scene.

A disarmament agreement reached in Nairobi, on the mediation of the African Union negotiators, said the rebel group had accepted to surrender both heavy and light weaponry to help end the war. But that decision would be pegged on the departure of “foreign forces”.

The Nairobi document titled ‘Declaration of the Senior Commanders on the Modalities for the Implementation of the Agreement for Lasting Peace Through Permanent Cessation of Hostilities’ seeks to ensure an orderly arms surrender for the combatants, but is mainly focused on ensuring a return to normalcy including unhindered humanitarian access to the troubled Tigray region.

One national defence force

It did not name Eritrean troops by name. However, a clause signed by Field Marshal Birhanu Jula, Ethiopia’s chief of the general staff and Lt-Gen Tadese Woreda, the commander of the Tigray armed combatants, says the two sides will only recognise one national defence force in Ethiopia.

“Disarmament of heavy weapons will be done concurrently with the withdrawal of foreign and non-NDF forces from the region,” says Article 2.1 (d) of the agreement on disarmament.