(Aljazeera) Ethiopia says 800 'Eritrea-backed' fighters surrender

From: Biniam Tekle <biniamt_at_dehai.org_at_dehai.org>
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 2015 22:20:26 -0400

Ethiopia says 800 'Eritrea-backed' fighters surrender

Nearly 800 members of little-known TPDM group have fled their base in
Eritrea and turned themselves in, government says.

17 Sep 2015 00:49 GMT | War & Conflict, Africa, Ethiopia, Eritrea

Ethiopia has previously dismissed the armed group as 'puppets' acting
under the orders of arch-foe Eritrea [EPA]

Hundreds of Ethiopian fighters have fled their base in Eritrea and
surrendered to authorities, handing over their weapons, the foreign
ministry said.

In a statement late on Tuesday, the foreign ministry said that Tigray
People's Democratic Movement (TPDM) leader Mola Asgedom and "nearly
800 fighters" crossed to Ethiopia on Sunday, having fought their way
past Eritrean troops.

"We came to the conclusion that an armed struggle was meaningless,"
Mola told the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation, adding the
group had been in contact with Addis Ababa for over a year before

"Bringing about good governance and democracy to Ethiopia were the
main objective of our armed struggle," Mola said according to the AFP
news agency.

"We have also come to realise the economic progress Ethiopia has
achieved and the destabilising agenda espoused by the Eritrean regime
and other groups."


The broadcaster's report displayed footage of a large group of young
men in fatigues, wielding AK-47 rifles and grenade launchers, while
camped in an open field near Ethiopia's border with Sudan.

The little-known TPDM said it launched a rebellion 14 years ago
seeking to "establish a popular democratic government" in Ethiopia's
capital, Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia has previously dismissed the group as "puppets" acting under
the orders of arch-foe Eritrea, with whom it is embroiled in a border

Authorities in Eritrea's capital Asmara were not immediately available
for comment.

Disputed village

Eritrea and Ethiopia routinely accuse each other of backing armed
groups trying to destabilise and topple the other's government - a
legacy from the two-year war they fought in the late 1990s.

Eritreans make up the third largest group among the refugees and
migrants heading for Europe.

The demarcation of their shared border is yet to be resolved, with
Addis Ababa insisting on a negotiated settlement.

Eritrea wants Ethiopia to pull troops out of the disputed village of
Badme before normalising relations, citing a decision by a Hague-based
boundary commission which awarded it in 2002.

Source: Agencies
Received on Fri Sep 18 2015 - 22:21:06 EDT

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