Ethiopia says hundreds of 'Eritrea-backed' rebels lay down arms

2015-09-15 19:07
Eritrea mountains.

Eritrea mountains.

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - Hundreds of Ethiopian rebels have fled their base in Eritrea and surrendered to authorities, handing over their weapons, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

The little-known Tigray People's Democratic Movement (TPDM) says it launched an insurgency 14 years ago seeking to "establish a popular democratic government" in 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 dispute.

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

Eritrea and Ethiopia routinely accuse each other of backing rebels 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.

In a statement, the foreign ministry said TPDM leader Mola Asgedom and "nearly 800 fighters" crossed to Ethiopia from Sudan 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 deserting.

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

"The government's sole aim was to disintegrate Ethiopia," Mola said, referring to Eritrea.

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.

Read more on:    ethiopia  |  eritrea  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.