Tigray protest halts army’s attempt to move heavy weapons to Oromia

2019-01-01 21:24:44 Written by  Martin Plaut Published in English Articles Read 273 times

January 1, 2019 Ethiopia, News

Tigrayans halt army redeployment of weapons

Popular protests on Monday prevented the Ethiopian army from transferring its heavy weapons from north-eastern Tigray.

The events took place in Gulo Mekeda, close to the town of Zalambessa, which borders on Eritrea.

After a daylong standoff, the military held discussions with local people and agreed to remain there until replacements arrived.

The people of Tigray are sceptical about the policies of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, whom they accuse of working with Eritrean President, Isaias Afwerki. They believe this has made Tigray vulnerable to potential attacks from Eritrea.

Since reconciliation between Eritrea and Ethiopia and Prime Minister Abiy’s trip to Asmara in July, Tigrayans have been warily watching developments on both sides of the border. They have insisted that the army’s artillery stays in their area to protect them.

Why the military wants to move its artillery

Tigrayans halt army redeployment of weapons

Ethiopia’s federal army believes it requires its armaments to prepare for a possible conflict in Oromia.

Since the return of rebels of the Oromo Liberation Front from exile in Eritrea there have been clashes between OLF forces and government soldiers throughout the state of Oromia.

The Tigrayans mounting the roadblocks in Gulo Mekeda were not convinced, arguing that the OLF doesn’t have heavy weapons, while the Eritreans do.

The recent closure of the Eritrea – Ethiopian border has only fuelled Tigrayan distrust of President Isaias and Prime Miniser Abiy.

Tigrayans halt army redeployment of weapons

Ethiopia has experienced ethnic conflicts in many parts of the country after Prime Minister Abiy ended the dominance of the centre over regional parties.

Currently there are close to 3 million people displaced within Ethiopia.

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