On May 11, the AU Monitoring, Verification, and Compliance Mission (MVCM) was denied entry to the district of Irob by Eritrean forces at a checkpoint in Sobeya, Eastern Tigrai.
Tigrai Televsion and other media outlets reported the obstruction while the AU Monitoring Team itself has not officially responded to the incident yet.
A source from the AU monitoring team who wants to remain anonymous told our reporters on Friday that the team has reported the incident to the AU High-Level Panel, who he says has withheld the information from publication.
“We have also reported that we are not safe traveling, there is practically nobody protecting us, I am thankful the Eritrean troops left us with no harm,” he said.
According to him, the AU monitoring team has scheduled to launch a patrol to Humera, Western Tigrai, on June 06, 2023. However, he noted that unsafe movement will negatively impact the monitoring process.
“We are not safe. besides we are not allowed to appear on the media” he added.
On 19 May, Tigrai Interim Regional Administration President Getachew Reda stated that the Monitoring team is “suffering in the hands of Eritrean forces,” as the Head of the team Maj. Gen. Stephen Radina briefed 6 months progress of the Mission where he said disarmament of Tigrayan forces was “85-90% completed.“
Last week on Friday, CNN reported that Eritrean troops stopped a UN-led humanitarian mission from entering Gemhalo, a small village in Tahtay Adiyabo District, Northwestern Tigrai.
“On 25 May 2023, a mission led by UNOCHA deputy head of Ethiopia comprised from UNOCHA, UNDSS, WHO, and other INGOs were prohibited from entering Gemhalo village in Tahtay Adiyabo woreda [district] by Eritrean forces,”
“The mission was stopped after traveling 16km from Sheraro around Waela-Nihbi. Eritrean forces are in Tigray in close distance from Sheraro occupying five kebeles [neighborhoods] of Tahtay-Adiyabo woreda [district],” aid workers told CNN.
Almost 7 months into the Pretoria Agreement, Eritrean forces together with their allies from the Regional State of Amhara have still occupied the entire western Tigrai, some parts of Eastern, Central Tigrai, and Northwestern Tigrai.
Eritrean forces are accused of heinous crimes that amount to genocide as they fought on the side of the Ethiopian government and Amhara regional forces in the war on Tigrai that was ended following the signing of the Permanent Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed in Pretoria on November 2, 2022, between Ethiopian Federal Government and the Tigrai People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Our efforts to reach members of the AU High-level Panel were unsuccessful.