Ethiopia Troops And Rebels ‘Share Food And Cigarettes’

Ethiopia’s federal forces and rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) fighters have begun taking conciliatory actions at the warfront as disarmament talks between their commanders continue in Kenya.

Redwan Hussein, the security adviser to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, told the US-based Ethiopian Media Services (EMS TV) on Tuesday that TPLF combatants were now approaching federal troops at the warfront for food and cigarettes.

“They eat food, get cigarettes, pose for photos and jointly bury the dead. In fact, they [TPLF delegates] are telling us that they have videos showing all that and we will have them,” said Mr Redwan, who is also attending the talks in Nairobi.

Mr Redwan said soldiers were keen on the peace process because they do not enjoy “killing and dying”.

“They want to save their lives and help their parents. The problem is politics and once political problems are solved, everything else is back to normal,” added Mr Redwan.

Ethiopia’s army chief Field Marshal Birhanu Jula and TPLF commander Tadese Werede are in Nairobi to discuss a plan for the disarmament of the TPLF and rehabilitation of its combatants as stipulated by the peace agreement signed in South Africa on 2 November.

On Monday, TPLF spokesperson Getachew Reda said they had had to make concessions for the sake of peace.

“Everything we do, every move we make, or every agreement we sign is driven by the need to ensure the interest of the people of Tigray. Peace is what our people need more than anything. Whether we will deliver on our promise in a manner that satisfies our people time will tell,” he tweeted.