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News: Eritrean forces allegedly abduct 26 individuals in Gulomekeda, Tigray region

Fasti town, the administrative seat of Gulomekeda district (Photo: Screenshot)

Addis Abeba – Over the course of seven months, Eritrean forces have reportedly abducted 26 individuals in Gulomekeda, a district located in the Eastern Tigray zone, approximately 124 kilometers away from the regional capital of Mekelle.

In an interview with Addis Standard, Haftom Baraki, the head of the district, disclosed that Eritrean soldiers persist in maintaining control over six kebeles within the district. The kebeles under Eritrean control include Addis Tesfa, Addis Alem, and Sebeya.

The head of the district disclosed that this occupation by Eritrean forces traces its origins back to the commencement of the conflict in the Tigray region in November 2020.

“The abductees were forcibly taken by Eritrean forces, leaving their families unable to determine their whereabouts,” Haftom revealed.

Furthermore, Haftom emphasized that the abductions have continued into the last week as security challenges have hampered movement within the district. “Eritrean forces are compelling residents in the occupied zones to strictly adhere to directives from the Eritrean administration,” he stated.

Gaining insight into the current situation of residents poses a considerable challenge, as the sole source of information about the area is derived from individuals situated at the administrative seat of the district, Fasti town.

A resident of Fasti town, who chose to remain anonymous and was interviewed by Addis Standard, underscored the human rights violations impacting the six kebeles. The resident faces constraints in freely moving to other districts, including accessing markets, as they are solely under the control of Eritrean troops, and they lack basic services such as telecommunication.

Irob, a northeastern district of Tigray, has witnessed similarly distressing incidents, with more than 28 youths reportedly abducted by Eritrean forces over a ten-month period. Eyasu Misgina, the head of the Irob district administration, stated that these abductions, specifically targeting youths, began in the aftermath of the initiation of the Tigray conflict in November 2020.

Despite the peace agreement between the federal government and Tigray forces, Eritrean forces have continued their presence in Irob, covering four different kebeles, against the implementation of the Pretoria Peace Agreement.

The situation in different parts of Tigray continues to be alarming, marked by ongoing reports of Eritrean troops abducting young individuals. In February 2023, Addis Standard documented the abduction of 10 youths by Eritrean forces from Gure Endagabir, in the vicinity of Axum city. AS

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