Africa File

A biweekly analysis and assessment of the Salafi-jihadi movement in Africa and related security and political dynamics.   Each edition begins "At a Glance." Country-specific updates follow.

Ethiopia Crisis Update: Eritrean troops will remain in Tigray

[Notice: The Critical Threats Project frequently cites sources from foreign domains. All such links are identified with an asterisk (*) for the reader's awareness.]

Eritrean troops will remain in Tigray. Eritrean troops have been in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region since the conflict began in November 2020. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed admitted to the involvement of Eritrean forces in Tigray for the first time on March 23. He promised on March 26 that Eritrean forces would withdraw. The Joe Biden administration and UN have been pressuring Abiy to address the actions of Eritrean troops in Tigray amid mounting reports of Eritrean soldiers abusing Tigray civilians, including rapes and executions. Eritrean troops allegedly massacred civilians in Finarwa town, southwest of the Tigray capital, Mekelle, on March 25.

Eritrean troops do not appear to be withdrawing despite Abiy’s promise. Eritrean troops sent reinforcements into Ethiopia through a border town, Adigrat, on March 27. The Belgium-based Europe External Programme in Europe also reported that a reliable source revealed that Abiy and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki agreed to integrate Eritrean forces into the Ethiopian military. If true, this agreement signals intent to preserve the Eritrean force presence in Ethiopia while masking it from international observers.

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