The Ethiopian National Defence Force will take over guarding the border areas immediately, Abiy said.
Thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed since November, when Abiy launched a major military operation against Tigray’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), sending in national troops and fighters from Ethiopia’s Amhara region.
Abiy claimed on Friday that the TPLF had provoked Eritrea’s military involvement by firing rockets into its capital Asmara, and thereby prompting the Eritrean government to “maintain its national security.”
“Reports indicate that atrocities have been committed in Tigray region,” Abiy wrote in a post on his Twitter account. “Regardless of the TPLF propaganda of exaggeration, any soldier responsible for raping our women & looting communities in the region will be held accountable as their mission is to protect.”
Abiy was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for resolving a long-running conflict with neighboring Eritrea, ending two decades of hostilities. Critics say that Abiy’s much-lauded peace deal with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki set the stage for the two sides to wage war against the TPLF — their mutual enemy.
On Monday, the Eritrean embassy of the UK and Ireland responded to CNN’s repeated requests for comment by denying allegations of wrongdoing by Eritrean soldiers and denying that Eritrean troops were in Ethiopia.
CNN’s Gianluca Mezzofiore, Katie Polglase, Nima Elbagir, Barbara Arvanitidis and Alex Platt contributed to this report