September 18, 2022

Eritrea declines report of mass mobilization of reservists as exaggerated

City: Addis AbabaNews

Yemane said that Eritrea has no special interest in the Tigray Region implying his country is obliged into a conflict with TPLF’s undercover agenda

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By Abiy Solomon

Abiy is Editor-in-Chief of Addis Zeybe. He has 12 years of experience in the fields of journalism, visual communication, and online media. Abiy has worked for The Daily Monitor, The Reporter, Fortune, and BBC Media Action in a variety of editorial positions.

Eritrea declines report of mass mobilization of reservists as exaggerated
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Credit: Eritrea Hub

The Eritrean Minister for Information Yemane Gebremeskel dismissed the report about the mass mobilization of military reservists to reinforce the army as an overstated claim. 

In a brief interview with Ulrich Coppel, a German journalist specializing in East Africa and Eritrea, Yemane said, “Eritrea is not mobilizing its entire population. This is deliberate distortion and exaggeration of the reality on the ground. Some reservists were called up but this is minuscule number”.

BBC reported on Sep 16 that security forces are mobilizing reservists up to the age of 55 on an official call. The report alleged witnesses told BBC News Tigrinya that mobilization notices were issued in the capital Asmara, and the towns of Keren and Tessenai. 

“Many in the capital, Asmara, were given notice on Thursday and moved to the border with Ethiopia's Tigray region, within hours.”

According to the news report the authorities called on reservists to report to their respective head offices, while also advising that they should carry their own supplies, including blankets and water containers.

The Canadian government cautioned citizens in Eritrea with a travel advisory to limit movements and monitor local media mentioning that local authorities have issued a general call for mobilization of armed forces in response to the conflict in northern Ethiopia. 

Reuters reported quoting a Horn of Africa diplomat informant that "Guards at embassies, U.N. compounds and residences had expressed fears they would be taken from their positions due to the widespread conscription".

“Military training and national service are compulsory for all Eritreans, male and female, and it is often indefinite, despite provisions in Eritrean law limiting national service to 18 months,” according to the Human Rights Watch.

Following the eruption of the war in Northern Ethiopia at the end of August, Debretsion Gebremichael, Chairman of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), requested the UN Security Council (UNSC) to forcefully intervene in the resumed conflict towards a peaceful end and withdrawal of Eritrean forces from Tigray and the Ethiopian territory.   

In an open letter addressed to the heads of UNSC and UN, Debretsion said a coordinated attack is opened on Tigray by the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and Eritrean forces.

Yemane told Ulrich Coppel in the interview that Eritrea has no special interest in the Tigray Region and implied that his government is obliged to enter into a conflict with TPLF’s undercover agenda.  

“TPLF – not the people of Tigray – has an entrenched hostile agenda against Eritrea which includes: incorporation of Eritrean territories; regime change; and at times, destroying Eritrean national identity to incorporate Eritrea’s highlands and the eastern lowlands in Greater Tigray.”

Both the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments haven’t so far issued any official response to the allegation of the involvement of Eritrean troops in the resumed conflict.