Ethiopian military in Somalia have “disarmed” between 200 and 300 of their ethnic Tigray militia over the past week as conflict rages in the northern Ethiopian region, Reuters news agency reports, referring to their anonymous security and diplomatic sources.
The soldiers’ weapons were removed due to concerns over the their loyalty, the sources said, without detailing the process. They said they included bilateral and African Union troops.
The Ethiopian government, a military spokesman and African Union (AU) peacekeeping force did not react upon calls and messages of media for comment. An Ethiopian government taskforce on Wednesday, November 18, denied the authorities were targeting ethnic Tigrayans in any way.
Ethiopian troops began fighting forces from the northern region of Tigray earlier this month after what the government described as a surprise attack by Tigrayan forces on a military camp stationed there.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has declared that “the final and crucial” military operation will launch in the coming days against the government of the country’s rebellious Tigray region, France 24 television reports.
Two diplomatic sources said the disarmed men were believed to be confined to their bases in Somalia and a security source said a deputy commander in one of the military sectors was among those who had been disarmed.