The Ethiopian government on Tuesday stressed that “large number” of Tigray Special Forces and the militia are surrendering as part of 72-hour ultimatum which was given by the Ethiopian government for Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) fighters to surrender peacefully to the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF).
“Using the government’s 72-hour period, a large number of Tigray militia and special forces are surrendering. Many have surrendered through the Afar region, and the remaining forces are surrendering peacefully,” the state of emergency task force, established by the federal government to watch over the ongoing military operations against the TPLF, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The Ethiopian government would like to thank members of the Tigray Special Force and the militia who are responding to the call,” the statement read.
“Those still under the control and captivity of the TPLF and are unable to surrender, are asked to disarm wherever they are and refrain from being exploited by the TPLF until the National Defense Forces rescue them,” it added.
Since the early hours of Nov. 4, the Ethiopian government has been undertaking military operations against the TPLF, which rules over Ethiopia’s northernmost Tigray regional state.
The federal government’s operation followed the TPLF’s attack on the Northern command base of the Ethiopian Defense Force, a division stationed in the region for over two decades and based in Mekelle city, capital of Tigray region.
The Ethiopian government, which on late Sunday disclosed that its military operations in the northern Tigray regional state are now in its “final and crucial phase,” as it announced a 72-hour ultimatum for the TPLF leaders to surrender to the Ethiopian defense force.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stressed that “members of the Tigray Special Forces and militia, who are carrying out the mission of the destructive clique are called upon to surrender peacefully.”
“Realizing that we are now in the final stages of the law enforcement action, we call upon them (members of the Tigray Special Forces and militia) to take advantage of this last opportunity and surrender peacefully to the government within 72 hours,” Ahmed said on late Sunday.
“The law enforcement operation has now reached the third and crucial phase. This third phase is the final step in bringing the treasonous TPLF clique to justice. Clearly, it requires a great deal of wisdom, caution, and patience,” the Ethiopian PM said in a statement issued late Sunday.
According to Ahmed, in prior weeks, the Ethiopian government had been undertaking the first two phases, in which the first phase was said to be remobilizing and strengthening the defense forces that were attacked “by their own people and restore the broken chain of command to enable them to carry out their mandate effectively.”
Amid the ongoing fighting, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency, disclosed that the number of Ethiopian refugees fleeing to neighbouring Sudan surpassed 38,600 amid the ongoing fighting between the ENDF and forces loyal to the TPLF, which rules over the Tigray regional state.
“Over 3,000 more men, women and children from Ethiopia were registered in East Sudan today. This brings the total up to over 38,600 refugees,” the UNHCR said over the weekend.
The UN Refugee Agency also stressed that Ethiopian refugees fleeing to neighboring Sudan are “in dire need of support, including food, water, sanitation and shelter.” The Ethiopian government had also vowed to rehabilitate the displaced nationals, who are now in neighboring Sudan.
Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, late Sunday stressed his government’s keen interest and readiness to return and rehabilitate its citizens.
“We would like the entire Ethiopian people to understand that the federal government is prepared in all aspects to proceed to the third phase of law enforcement action, along with the task of returning those who have fled their homes; to rehabilitate the displaced, to repair the damaged infrastructure and to help citizens in the liberated areas return to their normal lives,” the Ethiopian PM said in a statement issued late Sunday.
Ahmed also called on Ethiopians to help reintegrate the displaced, saying “we call upon all Ethiopians to be their brothers’ and sisters’ keeper along the road of recovery and healing.” “Since we Ethiopians have a long history of mutual support, we must assist our people without waiting for external support.
To this end, I urge everyone to join the efforts of the government and various community activities that have been started,” he added.
Ahmed also stressed that people in areas captured by the Ethiopian defense forces have resumed their activities with the protection of federal forces.