The Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF) says 4,208 prisoners of war, including 401 women, to be released in amnesty.
The Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF) announced the prisoner release on Twitter on Friday, amid an escalating war of words between Ethiopian and Tigray regional officials over provocations and preparations for another round of fighting in the country that has been mired in conflict for more than 18 months.
Ethiopia’s civil war erupted in November 2020 when the central government sent troops in to topple the Tigray region’s governing TPLF party, saying it was in response to rebel attacks on army camps.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been driven to the brink of famine, more than two million people have been displaced and more than nine million left in need of food aid, the United Nations has said.
Aid groups said federal forces have sealed off the Tigray region since July 2021, frustrating the delivery of food and desperately needed aid.
In recent months, Ethiopia has relaxed the restrictions somewhat to allow a better flow of aid into the Tigray region.
The Tigray forces decided to release 4,208 prisoners of war with an amnesty, out of whom 401 are women, according to the TPLF tweet.
“Most of them were captured [in fighting] outside of the Tigray region, and others joined the fight in a forced conscription,” Birhane Kebede, coordinator of the prisoners’ centre in the region, was quoted as saying by the regional party.
Birhane said those with disabilities, illnesses and women who gave birth in detention were given priority for release. — Al Jazeera