Ethiopian troops expected to leave Abyei in 3 months.

Ethiopian soldiers in disputed region of Abyei/PHOTO/sourceEthiopian soldiers in disputed region of Abyei/PHOTO/source

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia launched an offensive against rebel forces in the northern Tigray region in November and vowed that the fighting would be over in mere weeks.

Over the past eight months, the conflict has led to thousands of deaths, displaced 1.7 million people, and led to charges of atrocities including ethnic cleansing and horrific sexual violence mostly committed by government forces and their allies.

In June, a senior U.N. official declared that parts of  Tigray were in the throes of famine,   the world’s worst since 250,000 Somalis died in 2011.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, sent troops into Tigray last November to oust the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a move he said was in response to TPLF attacks on federal army camps.

This civil war has caused thousands of Ethiopian asylum-seekers to cross into Sudan. The two regions, which both border Sudan, are locked in a decades-old land dispute that has become central to an eight-month-old war in Tigray.

Amhara regional president Agegnehu Teshager has continuously called on all armed residents to mobilize for battle against the Tigrayan rebels dubbing it a survival campaign.

Prime Minister Ahmed has leaned heavily on security forces from the Amhara region during the fighting in Tigray. As events unfold, the fighting has dragged on for months before the tables turned in late June, with pro-TPLF fighters reclaiming the Tigray capital Mekele and Abiy declaring a unilateral ceasefire.

The Tigrayan rebels have since pushed on into other areas, including ones claimed by the Amhara region, and the federal government has sought assistance from other regions. It’s sad to note that this war has already killed thousands of people and pushed hundreds of thousands more into famine, according to the United Nations.

The Sudanese government and the United Nations have agreed that the Ethiopian component in the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) be withdrawn over the next three months.

The US special envoy for the Horn of Africa last week, Jeffrey Feltman, was back in the region in a bid to halt the fighting. In addition, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey offered to back a peaceful mediation to the war. But with Abiy rebuffing a meeting in early August with Power, Tigrayan forces advancing and fresh government recruits heading to face them, there is a little prospect so far for a substantial de-escalation.

According to Sudanese News Agency, Sudanese foreign affairs minister, Dr. Mariam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi, held a virtual meeting on Monday with the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Horn of Africa, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, with the participation of UN Under Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix and UN Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Support Mr. Atul Khare over the matter.

The Special Envoy Onanga-Anyanga valued the role being played by the Government of Sudan in achieving peace in the Republic of South Sudan, referring to the visit paid by Prime Minister Dr. Abdalla Hamdouk to Juba to enhance cooperation between the two sisterly countries.

Conclusively, the meeting discussed developments in the Abyei area and the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), where it was agreed to withdraw the Ethiopian component from UNISFA during the next three months at the request of Sudan.

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