A Brief Update
A trusted source in Tigray reports that TPLF officers are pushing hard to find more child soldiers. With 35 woredas (districts) in Tigray, they’re expected to recruit from 5,000 to 10,000 youths and children. But Tigrayan mothers in some zones have begun to oppose the forced recruitment, and the officers are unable to fill the numbers they’re required to deliver.
According to the source, at best, the officers have been able to get 1,000 or 2,000 from different woredas, and between 3,000 and 5,000 from others. Some of the forced recruits are children “collected from the streets.”
This picture of desperation fits with a recent report by the broadcaster, ESAT, that the Irob people of Tigray are starting to rise up against the TPLF regime and won’t part easily with their kids— and refusing to pay the financial levy demanded. Apparently, they’re coming straight out and demanding that they want to live in peace with other Ethiopians and Eritreans.
Last Friday, Ann Fitz-Gerald and Hugh Segal noted, “Video and photographic evidence from Tigray’s eastern border with the Afar regional state has also uncovered TPLF attacks on aid convoys. Some residents in Tigray have confirmed the launch of a registration process which denies food aid to those families who don’t commit fighters to the insurgent force. This evidentiary trail is littered with the dead bodies of child soldiers and crowded by 54,000 people from Afar’s border communities who have already lost their homes and have now become internally displaced.”
And there’s the intriguing and macabre report that allegedly in Qwiha, about 9 kilometres east of Mekelle, TPLF recruiters failed to meet their quota of child soldiers — because some of the local residents quietly assassinated them.
Bekele (not his real name), 35, a U.S. citizen of Ethiopian descent, says he was told by members of his family, that some child soldiers in Tigray “are begging the local [women] to hide them. They do not know where they are right now. And they do not even know the road and direction to go back to their parents.
“Even if they know, they cannot go back, because TPLF will arrest or kill them if they are caught on their way back home.”