Ethiopia: Tigray Rebels Start Handing over Heavy Weapons

    Photo: AP Photo [via Al Jazeera]

    The Facts

    • A spokesman for the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) announced on Wednesday that the group has begun handing over its heavy weapons — a key part of the agreement signed more than two months ago to end the brutal conflict in northern Ethiopia.

    • The demobilization of TPLF forces is central to a Nov. 2 ceasefire agreement, which also included the restoration of services, humanitarian assistance, and the withdrawal of Eritrean troops who fought alongside the Ethiopian army yet were not a party to the ceasefire.


    The Spin

    Narrative A

    The TPLF has followed the deal's conditions, even as the federal government continues obstructing aid delivery to Tigray. The TPLF's leadership signed the agreement for the sake of the people of Tigray, as the region has yearned for peace and stability after the last two years of unending bloodshed. However, since Eritrea's atrocities and refusal to withdraw from the region threaten to derail the peace process, the TPLF needs to stay in the region to protect its people.

    Narrative B

    Though these developments are promising, the Western-backed TPLF has used previous ceasefires to reorganize its forces, buy more weapons, and recruit more rebel fighters. This ceasefire may not be any different. The TPLF has continued to make false statements regarding aid delivery and airstrikes. The fact that the TPLF wants Eritrean forces to exit Ethiopia — and give up their arms and ammunition — shows the terrorist group's true colors: it may be simply preparing to reignite this brutal war.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 51% chance that Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed will experience a significant leadership disruption before 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


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