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(Borkena) About 2000 Tigray rebels return to Ethiopia from Eritrea

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Ethnic Tigray rebels kiss guerrila life in Eritrea goodbye as over 2000 return

Tigray Peoples Democratic Movement (TPDM) rebel groups end their armed struggle and returned home today. At least four killed as the lorry that carried them run into an accident.
TPDM EthiopiaTPDM fighters returning to Ethiopia
Photo : EBC

October 10,2018

Eritrea has been serving as a base for various rebel groups with the objective to challenge the government of Ethiopia and all of them used to claim that they resorted to armed struggle for the then TPLF led government was intolerant, as per opposition groups claims, to allow operating in the country peacefully.

Three armed opposition groups have returned to Ethiopia in the recent past following the call by prime minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.

Today, one more armed rebel group returned to Ethiopia. Tigray People’s Democratic Movement (TPDM), an ethnic Tigray rebel group which was said to much larger than the rest of armed groups that returned to Ethiopia has returned home today. In fact, there are rebel groups (like Ogaden National Liberation Front and Afar rebels – ARDUF) have not yet returned to the country although the leaders of these organizations have responded positively to the call by Ethiopian government to end armed struggle and return to Ethiopia for a peaceful struggle.

A report by Fana Broadcasting (FBC) puts the number of TPDM rebels that returned to the country to 2,309. Apparently, there are still TPDM soldiers in Eritrea and are expected to arrive soon.

Residents of the town of Zalambessa reportedly offered a warm welcome as the rebels enter the town, as per a report by FBC.

With regard to the next step for TPDM rebel fighters, Tigray regional state has a plan to reintegrate them the society after orientations. Another condition for their return is that they will disarm themselves before going for training to reintegrate with the society in Tigray.

A report by BBC Amharic service says that four TPMF fighters were killed today after the lorry that carried the rebels run into an accident in Segeneti, within Eritrea.

More than 20 fighters were wounded and hospitalized in Dekemehari hospital in Eritrea.

It is to be recalled that in July 2016 a contingent of TPDM force under Molla Asgedom defected to return to Ethiopia after a reported fall out among the leadership.

Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban   


The latest batch of ex-rebels returning to Ethiopia from Eritrea are the Tigray People’s Democratic Movement (TPDM). Over 2,000 of them are reported to have returned home on Tuesday.

Leadership of the TPDM held talks with the Eritrean government in Asmara in late August. they agreed to return home to pursue peaceful political struggle.

The group was formed in 2001 shortly after the two countries fought a costly border war which led to deaths of tens of thousands of people. The ensuing years were of a standoff between them.

All that changed in July 2018 when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed signed a peace deal with Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki to end the “no peace, no war” situation.

Before the peace deal, both countries accused each other of harbouring anti-peace elements claims that each part rejected in same measure.

Other former groups based in Eritrea that have returned home include the Patriotic Ginbot 7 fighters, soldiers of the Oromo Liberation Front, OLF. In each case, Asmara hosted peace talks between the rebels and Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia govt, key opposition parties agree to restructure armed operations

In August 2018, Ethiopian Prime Minister’s office said he had instituted a project office to oversee the implementation of an agreement with former rebel groups.

Its creation according to Abiy’s chief of staff, was necessitated after the government reached an agreement with key opposition parties. There were no further details of the particular parties involved.

The agreement covers disarmament, demobilization & reintegration of former fighters. PM Abiy appointed Tesfaye Yegezu to lead the Project Office (under the PM’s Office) tasked to coordinate this effort, a tweet from the chief of staff read in part.

Since his coming into office in April 2018, Abiy has led a multi-sectoral reform of Ethiopia’s government machinery. Key planks of the reforms have included unbanning rebel groups as terrorist organizations.

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