It’s to be recalled that the Ethiopian regime and its genocidal partners in Eritrea and Amhara have waged a brutal war on the people of Tigray since the 4th of November 2020. The brutal and barbaric war against the people of Tigray, which has been done with assistance from foreign countries and declared exactly at the time of harvest for our farmers, made self-defense an act of last resort for our people. The hitherto unheard of and unprecedented war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocidal campaign against our people also meant that our people had no choice but to voluntarily join the Tigray Army, as the army of the people. As such, mobilizing our people to join our just cause for self-defense has never been an issue for us. In fact, it is essential to remind here that majority of members of our army are people from all walks of life who would have normally preferred to contribute their fair share to the betterment of society had it not been for the genocidal war imposed on us. Our armed forces are, therefore, a group of determined, conscious and well-trained youngsters who know what and why they are fighting for. And we would never opt for anything less, not only because it would go against the noble cause and principles we uphold, but also because an army of forced conscripts cannot bring about sustainable victory. If the atrocities committed by the allied armies of Ethiopia and Eritrea and the Amhara forces, and their subsequent defeat in the mountains of Tigray is any guide, an army of forced recruits cannot but be a ragtag army with an inevitable fate of defeat.
Cognizant of the position of the Government of Tigray has always been and continues to be that only political solution brings about a sustainable end to this war, the people of Tigrays unwavering ownership of the fight against the unjust and genocidal war that has been waged against their survival and human dignity, should make it categorically clear that we remain to uphold the right and duty to voluntarily mobilize our forces for selfdefense. Our people understand this and have been the primary owners of both the mobilization and the fight against the genocidal war waged on our people.
Following the unilateral withdrawal of the Tigray Army from neighboring regions in December 2021, the Government of Tigray has been institutionalizing and enhancing the clarity of purpose of our armed forces. In this regard, the Government of Tigray has addressed and will continue to proactively address incidents of administrative irregularities at the lower level, including by setting up a double verification and screening mechanism. Be that as it may, any minor and sporadic irregularities do not in any way define the character and valor of our armed forces. Hence, any attempt to depict our armed forces in such a way, sometimes by citing testimonies of alleged POWs, are but a malign campaign to paint a wrong picture about our armed forces.
The Government of Tigray, fully cognizant of its international obligations, would like to assure our people and partners that it will continue to work towards institutionalizing and enhancing the clarity of purpose of the Army to sustainably ensure the survival of the people of Tigray and play its constructive role in the overall stability of the region. On the same note, the Government of Tigray would like to reaffirm its commitment of allowing unfettered access to independent stakeholders, including humanitarian organizations, human rights defenders, journalists and researchers should they choose to investigate. Having said that, we would like to remind the international media to pressure the Ethiopian Regime to travel to Tigray rather than issuing incomplete stories based on few alleged testimonies as published by Reuters dated 16 May 2022 entitled Some Ethiopians claim forced recruitment by Tigrayan forces.
Finally, we would like to reiterate that even following the declaration of cessation of hostilities on 24 March 2022, all supply lines towards Tigray remain sealed, all bank activities frozen, and power and telecom lines shut down. Access to humanitarian aid remains to be essentially blocked. The Ethiopian Regime and its allies have only changed their genocidal strategy from military offensive targeting civilians to a silent and even more gruesome style of genocide inflicting a slow and painful death on Tigrayans through a weaponized starvation. This makes voluntary, institutionalized, and formal mobilization a must. Any mobilization we have been making, therefore, remains to be voluntary and is solely aimed at ensuring our natural right to defend ourselves so as to survive as a people and civilization.