The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) officially commenced handing over heavy weapons in Agulae, a small town near Mekele, in the presence of the African Union Monitoring and Verification Team.
Speaking about the handing over, Brigadier General Peter, a representative of the African Union monitoring team, said, "We are here to witness a crucial aspect of the assigned task as stated under Article 6 of the ceasefire declaration which is Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of program.”
“We have seen the handing over and taking over military weapons by both Tigrayan defense forces and Ethiopian national defense forces,” said Brigadier General Peter.
Lt. Gen. Alemu Tadele, a member of the verification team and representative of the federal forces, said, “We have received the heavy weapons that were gathered in Agulae from the TDF's (Tigray Defense Force) representative. When we receive these heavy weapons, details and technical issues will be seen and verified in due course.”
“According to the peace agreement, heavy weapons and artillery were delivered to us by TDF representatives with peace and love. The African Union also surrendered them to us in peace.”
Getachew Reda, a TPLF central committee member, said in a tweet “the TPLF forces had handed over their heavy weapons as part of their commitment to implementing the Pretoria agreement, and the Monitoring and Verification team has confirmed it.”
The representative of the TPLF forces, Mulugeta Gebrekirstos, told journalists that, pursuant to the peace agreement reached between the TPLF and the Federal government, his forces have officially started surrendering heavy weapons and artillery that were gathered in Agulae.
Mulugeta also affirmed that the handing over of heavy weapons will strongly continue in other camps.
Brigadier General Peter stated in a press briefing that the witnessed effort is a step in the right direction in achieving the African Union's aim of silencing guns by 2030.
The general remarked this step assists in restoring constitutional order and guarantees safety and peace.
Article 6 of the Pretoria peace agreement calls for the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of TPLF forces while taking regional security concerns into account.
As per Article 2(d) of the executive declaration of the Nairobi peace deal, the disarmament of heavy weapons by TPLF forces is to be done concurrently with the withdrawal of the foreign and non-Ethiopian Defense Force (ENDF) from the region.
It has repeatedly reported the presence and commission of heinous crimes by the Eritrean troops in the Tigray regional state, even after the peace agreement.