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Tigrayan Forces Hand Over Weapons as Part of Peace Deal

Ethiopia’s federal defense force in a statement Wednesday confirmed Tigray forces have started handing over heavy weapons— the latest progress in line with a November peace deal. The statement said the “first round” of weapons were transported on Tuesday in Agula camp, 36 kilometers from Tigray’s capital, Mekelle. Ethiopian Army Commander Lieutenant Colonel Aleme Tadele said the arms transfer included tanks, rockets, and mortars. The statement said observers from the African Union and various countries’ militaries were present to verify the transfer from the Tigray People’s Liberation Army. The confirmation came after TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda early Wednesday tweeted news of the handover. He said they “hope and expect this will go a long way in expediting the full implementation of the agreement.” Rights groups say all sides in the conflict are guilty of rapes, torture, and extra-judicial killings that could amount to war crimes, and cite evidence of ethnic cleansing against Tigrayans.