News: Despite federal gov’t Inaction, Tigray region ready to receive IDPs in West Tigray, says General Tadesse Werede

General Tadesse Werede, vice president of the Tigray interim administration (Photo: Tigray TV)

Addis Abeba – Lieutenant General Tadesse Werede, vice president of the Tigray interim administration, has confirmed that the region is fully prepared to assist in the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in West Tigray. Despite this readiness, he expressed concern over the lack of action from the federal government in addressing the issue.

In a press release yesterday, Lt. Gen. Tadesse said “delays from the federal government in the South Raya area have hindered the process of enabling the displaced persons to return to their villages.”

According to him, the administration in Raya, in southern Tigray that needed to be dismantled has collapsed, and the militant group has left the area. The focus is now on peacefully resolving the remaining issues, the vice president said.

However, Lt. Gen. Tadesse addressed the lack of visible action by the federal government in West Tigray, stating, “We will not allow another winter to pass without progress and refuse to be complicit in this inaction.”

The latest statement comes after he previously told local media in Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray region, that an agreement was reached with the federal government and the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) on the timeline to address the impasse in southern and western Tigray zones and return the internally displaced civilians according to the Pretoria peace agreement of November 2022.

According to Lt. Gen. Tadesse, the agreement on the timeline was reached after a two-day discussion between the two sides. It was agreed that the impasse in parts of the Southern Tigray zone and Tselemti in the northwestern zone of Tigray will be solved by the first week of June this year, while the impasse in the Western Tigray zone will be solved by the first week of July 2024.

In a statement yesterday, the general emphasized the administration’s commitment to avoiding conflict and collaborating with the federal government and security forces. “We will cooperate as expected from our side and will not engage in any actions that could create problems for them,” he stated.

He assured that the administration is prepared to discuss any challenges the ENDF may encounter in facilitating the return of the displaced persons.

He mentioned that the displaced individuals would be brought back with their belongings and that no incidents of shootings or conflicts were anticipated during their return.

Regarding IDPS from Raya Alamata district, the general stated, “We understand our responsibilities in the Raya area and are committed to fulfilling them. As long as we meet our obligations, we will ensure the return of the displaced persons.”

“We will return the displaced individuals to their villages according to the agreed-upon timeline. We have no intention of creating conflict, as prevention is our shared objective, and there is no reason for us to come into conflict with the federal government’s security forces,” General Tadesse said.

He also mentioned that the evacuees in the Tselemti area will be brought back, including those who are armed.

“We have information on the number of people who are illegally cultivating land in that area,” he said, clarifying that “we are aware of the armed individuals living in that area, and there will be no confusion or introduction of new armed personnel.” AS

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