Eritrean leader denies rights violations by his forces in Ethiopian war

Isaias Afwerki in joint statement with Kenyan President William Ruto calls reports of human rights violations by his troops lies and fabrications

Andrew Wasike  | 10.02.2023 - Update : 10.02.2023
Eritrean leader denies rights violations by his forces in Ethiopian war


Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki said Thursday that his country’s forces never committed any human rights violations or interfered in the war in northern Ethiopia, which has claimed over half a million lives.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Kenya’s capital Nairobi with his host Kenyan President William Ruto, Afwerki said that many reports pointing the finger at his troops' interference in the Tigray war are fabrications.

“I have no intention of interfering in this matter despite the disinformation campaign going on trying to disrupt the process of peace in Ethiopia,” Afwerki said while lauding the Nairobi and Pretoria peace processes that ended the war in Ethiopia.

“You talk about withdrawal or no withdrawal (of Eritrean forces), and we say this is nonsense. Why are we bothered if Eritrean troops were there or not there?” said Afwerki, who is on a two-day official visit to Kenya.

“Everybody talking about human rights violations (by Eritrean forces), rape, looting, this is a fantasy in the minds of those who own this factory that I call a factory of fabricating misinformation,” he added.

The Eritrean leader did not answer a question about the death toll of Eritrean forces in Ethiopia.

It has been widely reported by UN agencies and other non-governmental organizations in Ethiopia that Eritrean forces played a significant role in the conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia.

Eritrean troops are said to have crossed the border into Tigray and joined forces with the Ethiopian military to fight against the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). The Eritrean government has officially denied involvement in the conflict, but a significant amount of evidence suggests otherwise.

The war between Ethiopian government forces and Tigray rebels erupted in November 2020 after the TPLF attacked federal army bases stationed in the northern region.

Hostilities subsided after the two warring sides in Ethiopia signed agreements in Pretoria and Nairobi in November last year.

The Tigray conflict has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions more since November 2020.

A UN report released late last year placed the number of displaced people at 2.75 million, with some 12.5 million children said to be in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

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