September 18, 2022 (GMN) - Eritrea is mobilizing armed forces due to the re-eruption of the conflict in northern Ethiopia, the Canadian government said, raising fears that the fighting may intensify in a war that has already displaced millions and triggered a humanitarian disaster across northern Ethiopia.
“Local authorities have issued a general call for mobilization of armed forces in response to the conflict in northern Ethiopia,” said a Canadian travel advice tweet.
The Canadian government urged its citizens in Eritrea to limit their movements and monitor local media. It was not clear from the statement if Canada believed Eritrea was mobilizing forces for offensive or defensive purposes.
Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel and Ethiopian government spokesperson Legesse Tulu did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“Guards at embassies, U.N. compounds and residences had expressed fears they would be taken from their positions due to the widespread conscription,” a Horn of Africa diplomat told Reuters.
One Eritrean exile told Reuters that two family members inside Eritrea had said the government was sending citizens under 60 to fight and that authorities had warned that deserters would have their houses confiscated.
Getachew Reda, a spokesman for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray, said in a tweet on that Eritrea was calling up “sixty-year-old reservists” to fight.
Eritrea sent troops into Tigray to back the Ethiopian military after fighting broke out between the Ethiopian government and the TPLF in November 2020.
Both Eritrean and Ethiopian officials denied reports Conflict re-erupted around Tigray last month after a roughly five month-long ceasefires collapsed. Both sides blamed each other for the renewed violence.
Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a border war from 1998-2000. At the time, the Ethiopian government was dominated by the TPLF. Eritrea and the TPLF remain arch-enemies.
In 2018, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power and signed a peace deal with Eritrea – an act that won him the Nobel Peace Prize. But relations between Abiy and the TPLF quickly soured.
Abiy’s government accuses the TPLF of trying to reassert Tigrayan dominance over Ethiopia, while the TPLF accuses Abiy of over-centralizing power and oppressing Tigrayans. Each side rejects the other’s narrative. Source: Reuters