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Ethiopia and Tigray Leaders End War, But Some Say More Conflict Is Looming from Eritrea

After 10 days of peace talks, the Ethiopian government and the northern Tigray leaders agreed to end a two-year civil war this week.

However, Tigrayans allege the federal government carried out a drone strike on civilians on Thursday, just a day after they agreed n South Africa “to permanently silence the guns,” AFP reports.

“There was also shelling of artilleries in the same city that killed & wounded civilians. This happens after signing the peace agreement at #Pretoria,” Tigray spokesperson Kindeya Gebrehiwot said on Twitter.

Redwan Hussein (left), representative of the Ethiopian government, and Getachew Reda (right), Representative of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), sign a peace agreement between the two parties during a press conference regarding the African Union-led negotiations to resolve conflict in Ethiopia at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) offices in Pretoria on Nov. 2. (Photo: Phill Magakoe/ AFP via Getty Images)

Getachew Reda, a senior leader in the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLC), and Redwan Hussien, national security adviser, signed the deal Wednesday in Pretoria, South Africa, one day before the second anniversary of the war. Tigrayans have accused the federal government of genocide. The conflict has reportedly killed hundreds of thousands and displaced 2 million people. The Tigray region has been strapped for food and supplies creating a humanitarian crisis in the area.

Ethiopia is composed of nine regions and two cities, according to the Embassy of Ethiopia. The TPLC lead the country from 1991 until prime minister Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, took office in 2018. Tigrayan forces quietly maintained their power in the northern region of the country, but tensions boiled over when Tigrayans held an election in opposition to Abiy’s order suspending the activity because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports show.

Abiy won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for his role in ending Ethiopia’s conflict with Eritrea, a former part of a federation with the larger country. However, Abiy joined forces with Eritrea against Tigray in launching the war.

The peace agreement calls for a “detailed program of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration for the TPLF combatants, taking into account the security situation on the ground.”

The federal government agreed to expedite aid to the Tigrayan region, where 13 million are reportedly facing a food crisis.

Both sides have also vowed to settle their “political differences” and a created policy “framework to ensure accountability, truth, reconciliation, and healing.”

“The conflict has brought a tragic degree of loss of lives and livelihoods and it is in the interest of the entire people of Ethiopia to leave this chapter of conflict behind and live in peace and harmony,” the agreement says.

Kjetil Tronvoll, an expert on Ethiopian politics at Bjorknes University College in Norway, told CNN he is concerned that the agreement did not include Eritrea.

“I don’t see any sustainable peace process if Eritrean forces are still on the ground,” Tronvoll said.

Kindeya said in a tweet Friday that Eritrean forces were going “house-to-house” in the Tigrayan town of Adwa “looting any vehicle they find” and are “aiming to continue” their previous atrocities.

However, many commenters on Twitter accused Kindeya of making false claims to prolong the war. Tigrayan sources also told The Associated Press ahead of the peace agreement this week that they witnessed looting and violence in the region amid the peace talks. CNN also uncovered a massacre in the Tigrayan town of Dengelat, where more than 100 people are believed to have died in 2021.

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