East Africa: News – US “Tracking Eritrean Troop Movements Across the Border” With Ethiopia: Special Envoy

Addis Abeba — The U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Mike Hammer, told media this afternoon that the U.S. was “tracking” recent Eritrean troop movements along the Ethiopian border. The Envoy’s remark came shortly after Tigrayan authorities said that “Eritrean forces have launched full scale offensive in all fronts today,” and days after news reports emerged that Eritrea was “mobilizing” its military reservist.

“We have been tracking Eritrean troop movements across the border. They are extremely concerning and we condemn them” Ambassador Mike Hammer said, adding that all external foreign actors should respect Ethiopia’s sovereignty and territorial, and “avoid fueling the conflict.” The U.S. has been very clear and said it “repeatedly that we encourage those who are able to communicate directly with Asmara that this is extreme concern and must stop”, he said, and added that “the presence of Eritrean troops in Ethiopia only serves to complicate matters and inflame an already tragic situation.”

The U.S. has already said it “condemn[s] Eritrea’s reentry” into Ethiopia’s renewed militarized hostilities between the federal defense forces and Tigrayan forces which started on 24 August, becoming the first from the international community to confirm Eritrea’s active engagement in the renewed hostilities.

Eritrea’s invasion of Ethiopia’s Tigray regional state and its role in the war has been marked with reports of extreme atrocities, which both Ethiopia and Eritrea initially denied as “complete lie.” However, in May 2021, Ethiopia admitted the involvement of Eritrean troops in atrocities against civilians, confirming several reports by media and human rights organizations, including the state backed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which said “grave human rights violations and an attack against civilians in Axum city, Tigray region.”

This was further corroborated in a new report by the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE) to the UN Human Rights Council, which concluded that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that violations, such as extrajudicial killings, rape, sexual violence, and starvation of the civilian population as a method of warfare have been committed in Ethiopia since 3 November 2020,” and said members of the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF) were among the perpetrators. AS

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