Released persons by Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a rebel force in northern Ethiopia are not Prisoner of Wars but civilians held hostage during the TPLF’s invasion of Amhara and Afar regions as well as abducted family members of the federal army officers, Ethiopian government has said.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Ethiopia’s Government Communication Services (GCS) said the TPLF is trying to grab the global community’s attention with misinformation propaganda after releasing civilian hostages as war prisoner.
The statement was issued a couple of days after the group in control of the Tigray region said that they would free 4,208 prisoners of war, including 401 women – some of whom have recently given birth.
It is attempting to “cover up its aggressor and destructive nature and paint itself as peace-loving” to the international community “which is now starting to understand the it true nature”, the GCS said.
After an investigation, the GCS said the government found that most of the released, who were said to be prisoners of war, are families of the members of the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) abducted during the withdrawal of the army from the region.
Some of them also found to be citizens held hostage by the TPLF from regions it invaded and civilian wokers, from other regions, stationed in Tigray, the GCS said.
The group is now trying to gain political benefit by forcing civilians to wear the uniforms of the ENDF and other security forces and releasing them as Prisoners of War, the statement said.
Thousands are believed to have been killed since the conflict started in November 2020. The fighting has de-escalated in recent months.
Authorities are accusing the TPLF of being in preparation for another attack on neighbouring regions.
“Given that the terrorist group has officially declared war recently,” the GGS said, “the latest propaganda is a clear indication that the TPLF is diverting its meagre resources to the preparation for yet another catastrophic war.”
The government also accused the group trying to infiltrate members of extremist groups to carry out its ill mission by organizing and releasing them as war captives.
The general public, like before, should be cautious of the destructive propaganda of TPLF, said the government Communication Services.