Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki (right) and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (left) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Picture: REUTERS/TIKSA NEGERVI
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki (right) and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (left) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Picture: REUTERS/TIKSA NEGERVI

Eritrea has agreed to withdraw its troops from Ethiopia after facing allegations that they committed atrocities in the neighbouring country and increasing diplomatic pressure to pull out.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki decided on the removal after talks he hosted talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Thursday. The announcement came three days after Abiy admitted the presence of Eritrean forces in his country for the first time.

“The government of Eritrea has agreed to withdraw its forces from the Ethiopian border,” Abiy said in a statement on Friday. “The Ethiopian National Defence Force will take over guarding the border areas effective immediately.”

The withdrawal will help de-escalate a conflict that’s been raging in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region since November, when Abiy ordered federal troops to topple the state’s dissident ruling party. Forces loyal to Tigray’s government fired missiles at Eritrea’s capital, Asmara, in the early stages of the war.

Both the EU and the US called on Eritrean troops to leave Tigray after reports of looting, rape, assaults in refugee camps and other human rights abuses.

In February, advocacy group Amnesty International reported that Eritrean troops massacred hundreds of civilians in the northern Ethiopian town of Axum in November.

Bloomberg

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.