TDF releases prisoners of war as internal conflict escalates in northern Ethiopia
NAIROBI, Kenya – A thousand prisoners of war [POW] were released by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray [TPLF] otherwise known as the Tigray Defense Forces [TDF], following their arrest and incarceration during the war in the region.
Earlier this month, TDF marched thousands of Ethiopian national defense forces [ENDF] soldiers, those of the Amhara regional forces and the Eritrean army, who were reportedly arrested by the TDF during the crackdown in the region launched by federal troops.
By parading them, the TDF accused Addis Ababa of “wrongly targeting our people” in Tigray and vowed to imprison those who were captured. The exact number of people in detention could not be established at that time.
But reports have emerged that the prisoners of war have since been released following intense negotiations between the TDF leadership and the Red Cross. A video of the alleged prisoner of war has been published but Axadlehas not been able to verify its authenticity.
The TDF has not openly spoken of the new development in Ethiopia, which could ease tensions across the country. TPLF spokesperson Getachew Rada could also not be reached for comment.
Anyway, the Red Cross, which has been a major humanitarian actor in the Tigray region where ENDF is accused of genocide, has not yet confirmed the information. Ethiopia has even accused aid groups of “helping the other side”.
The reports come amid an internal conflict in Tigray between TDF and the Tigray Democratic Party [TDP]. The TDP accuses TDF of allegedly using child soldiers in violation of international law.
Teshale Negusse, head of the Tigray Democratic Party bureau, told ENA that the recruitment and deployment of children in wartime is against Ethiopian and international law. The leader called on the international community to condemn this act and to prosecute this group for violating international laws.
However, the TPLF clique have violated these laws and committed atrocities by recruiting and deploying children in armed conflict, they are working to dismantle Ethiopia, he said.
Teshale also urged the people of Tigray to stop sending their children to support the terror group’s irrational and unnecessary destructive activities and to speak out against the group’s cruel agenda.
But Getachew Rada, the TPLF spokesman, refuted the claims, arguing that the federal government has lost territory in Tigray, thus resorting to “propaganda”. He noted: “We do not use child soldiers, the ENDF is very weak.”