Tigrayan forces in northern Ethiopia have started handing over heavy weapons in line with a peace deal to end a brutal civil war.
The African Union (AU) said it was « a step in the right direction » to end the two-year-long conflict.
Hundreds of thousands of people are estimated to have died from starvation, a lack of medical care, and fighting.
The conflict broke out following a massive fall-out between the regional and federal governments.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accused the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which controlled the region, of seizing military bases and launching an attempt to overthrow his government.
Tigrayan forces advanced towards the federal capital, Addis Ababa, in 2021, but were pushed back.
TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda said he hoped that the handover of weapons would « go a long way in expediting the full implementation of the agreement ».
Armoured tanks, rockets and mortars were among the weapons transferred to the federal army on Tuesday, the Ethiopian military’s Lt-Col Aleme Tadele was quoted by local media as saying.
A team of AU monitors confirmed that weapons had been given up, suggesting that the peace deal is sticking,
Basic services, like electricity and banking, are slowly resuming in Tigray after being cut off during the conflict.
A major sticking point is the presence of Eritrean troops in the area, as well as forces from Ethiopia’s Amhara region.
They intervened in the conflict on the side of the federal government, and the TPLF is demanding their withdrawal.
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