Eritrean forces withdraw from key towns in Ethiopia’s Tigray

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Soldiers from Eritrea have withdrawn from three key towns in Ethiopia’s Tigray region a day after Tigray fighters took control of the regional capital, Ethiopian forces retreated and Ethiopia’s government declared an immediate, unilateral cease-fire.

The swift turn in the nearly eight-month war has left people scrambling to understand what exactly is going on in the region of 6 million people as communications links are largely down.

The people in close contact with witnesses who confirmed the withdrawal spoke on condition of anonymity for their safety.

Eritrean soldiers, accused by witnesses of some of the war’s worst atrocities, left the towns of Shire, Axum and Adwa but it was not immediately clear whether they had left other communities, where they were going, or whether the retreat was temporary.

Neighboring Eritrea’s information ministry did not immediately respond to questions. Tigray’s former leaders say they are now in control of the regional capital, Mekele.

The Tigray leaders, who have waged a guerrilla war since November after a political falling-out with the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in a statement issued overnight called on supporters to “intensify their struggle until our enemies completely leave Tigray.—AP

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