The United States and European Union are raising alarm over the recent deployment of troops from Eritrea to Ethiopia’s Tigray region, where nine months of war have killed thousands of people and sparked a worsening humanitarian crisis.
In June, forces from Ethiopia’s rebellious Tigray recaptured part of the territory, dealing Ethiopia’s government a huge setback. However, the latest Eritrean deployments, which come months after Ethiopia announced the departure of foreign troops, suggest the risk of further fighting.
The Treasury Department issued sanctions against a senior Eritrean official it accused of violations of human rights during the Tigray war. The allegations are false, according to Eritrea.
EU diplomats, meanwhile, wrote in an internal memorandum on August 20 that Eritrea was sending reinforcements across the border into Tigray.
Eritrean troops had gone to the already strongly armed and contested western section of Tigray, according to the paper, and had “taken up defensive positions with tanks and artillery” surrounding the towns of Adi Goshu and Humera.
It also said that Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed visited Eritrea’s capital Asmara on August 17, a visit that was not announced by his office, while en route to an official meeting in Turkey.
Requests for comment from Eritrea’s information ministry, Ethiopia’s prime minister, and Ethiopia’s military were not immediately returned.
War broke out last year between Ethiopia’s federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls the Tigray region, and more than two million people have since been forced to flee their homes.
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