Djibouti, Djibouti – Djibouti has fought against claims that its troops were sent to the common border with Ethiopia, even as the conflict between Addis Ababa and the Tigray Defense Forces [TDF] rages, as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed struggles to restore order in the country.
Reports of Djibouti’s plans to send troops to the border with Ethiopia emerged on Tuesday, with the end game being to prevent TDF from cutting rail and road links to Djibouti as a strategy to economically stifle Addis Ababa. . Ethiopia depends on the port of Djibouti for imports and exports.
But IIyas Dawaleh, the Minister of Economy and Finance in charge of Industry in Djibouti, denied these allegations, adding that there had been no movement of Djiboutian troops towards the common border with Ethiopia.
According to him, there is no “immediate” risk that could encourage Djibouti to consider this option. He also rallied around peace and stability in the Horn of Africa, adding that everyone in the region should be considerate enough to promote reconciliation.
“Dear Brother Abdi, I do not know your source but I can assure you that no soldiers or armor have been moved to Border,” he said. “We do not foresee any risk to be considered for such a decision. Having said that, we sincerely believe that our region deserves peace, stability and wisdom.”
This is Djibouti’s first significant statement about the allegations, which sparked mixed feelings for most of the day on Wednesday. Ethiopia is in conflict with the Tigray Defense Forces, the latter accusing the former of having committed genocide in the Tigray region.
But despite Djibouti’s defense, images taken by Google on Wednesday showed that the road from Djibouti to Ethiopia was closed. Satellite images [Sentinel-hub] show long lines of trucks, tight against each other, stretching about 8 km from the border to Djibouti, and no sign of trucks crossing on the Ethiopian side.
Axadlehad established that Djiboutian troops had moved to the common border with Ethiopia to the north, in order to thwart a possible threat from the Tigray Defense Forces. [TDF], which is embroiled in a conflict with the authorities in Addis Ababa.
TDF fight with Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF] following the latter’s operations in the Tigray region, which left thousands dead and millions displaced. ENDF has been temporarily withdrawn from Tigray but TDF accuses them of blocking the supply routes to Tigray.
According to sources, Djiboutian troops accompanied by armored vehicles have been seen heading towards the common border with Ethiopia, which could aggravate the conflict in the Horn of Africa.
In recent weeks TDF, an Ethiopian separatist group pushing for the secession of Tigray, has accused Ethiopia of using foreign military, especially from Eritrea and local Amhara regional forces to rampage on innocent Tigrayans. . The TDF withdrew from the Ethiopian government after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took over.
Djiboutian troops, the reports say, are eager to strengthen the defense of major road and rail links with Ethiopia. At least 95 percent of Ethiopia’s freight passes through this corridor from the port of Djibouti, which has served Addis Ababa for decades now.
Tigrayan forces are now in Afar state and could potentially cut off the transport corridor, sources say. The TDF did not respect the ceasefire declared by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, arguing that the national army had lost the battle in the Tigray region.
Axadleestablished that TDF devised a new strategy to cripple the Ethiopian administration, just a week after Addis Ababa apparently abandoned the ceasefire it declared, fueling tensions in Ethiopia in the last development.
On Thursday, thousands of Ethiopians gathered in Meskel Square in Addis Ababa to demonstrate in support of federal troops who are embroiled in a conflict with TDF. There are fears that the two sides will clash again in the coming months.