In a surprise move, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) Central Committee in Mekelle, Tigrayan capital announced that it did not send a negotiating team to Pretoria nor had combatants to lay arms down.
In a statement issued an hour later an agreement was signed between military commanders of the Ethiopian Government and TPLF in Nairobi, Kenyan capital late on Saturday to implement the peace deal that both sides reached in South Africa early this month, the TPLF Central Committee said no single person represented the TPLF in the Pretoria peace talks.
“There is no TPLF army that will disarm” the committee said in a statement which was read out and issued by Tigray media houses.
The statement was released immediately after the Ethiopian Chief of Staff, Field Marshal Berhanu Jula and TPLF rebels’ military leader, Tadesse Worede signed an agreement outlining the disarmament of TPLF fighters and entry of the federal force into Mekele.
The agreement document indicates that TPLF disarmament is to take place concurrently with the withdrawal of “Eritrean Forces and Amhara special and other forces,” from the Tigray region.
“The disarmament of heavy weapons will be done concurrently with the withdrawal of Eritrean and non ENDF forces from the region,” it reads
Based on the government’s statement issued the same day, the Ethiopian Defense Forces will take control of Mekelle, capital of the Tigray region within a week’s time.