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Rebel Commander Says 65% of Fighters Have 'Disengaged' From Tigray Frontlines 

Map showing the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
Map showing the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

The commander-in-chief of the Tigray rebel forces said that 65% of his forces had "disengaged," a month after a cease-fire agreement over Ethiopia's war-torn northern region.

"We have started disengagement and relocation of our forces from battlelines... out of our forces, 65% of them have passed through this process, disengaging from battlelines and moved to designated places," General Tadesse Worede, chief of staff of Tigray's fighters, told reporters Saturday.

Tigray's authorities had been resisting central rule for months when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accused their leadership of attacking federal army camps and sent troops into the region in 2020.

The conflict between the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and pro-Abiy forces — which include regional militias and the Eritrean army — has caused an untold number of deaths, forced more than two million people from their homes and driven hundreds of thousands to the brink of famine.

The two parties signed a peace deal in South Africa on November 2 that agreed to allow unfettered aid into Tigray.

Tadesse said there were still "forces in the areas that don't want peace,” and said his troops would not "100%" disengage until the threat was reduced.

Rebel fighters had "started collecting our heavy weaponry and putting it in one area", he said, adding there were currently no international monitors or observers present on the ground.

Restoring aid deliveries to Tigray was a key part of the agreement to end the two-year war that has killed untold numbers of people and unleashed a humanitarian crisis.

The region was isolated from the world for over a year and faced severe shortages of medicines and limited access to electricity, banking and communications.