Ethiopia: Mekelle Interim Mayor Says Remark On Eritrea Forces Only a Repeat of Military Official - Interim CEO Says Mayor Not Mandated to Speak On the Issue, Corrective Measure Taken

Commenting on his remarks regarding the presence and involvement of Eritrean forces in Tigray's armed conflict, Atakilti Hailesilasie, interim mayor of Mekelle City told Addis Standard by phone that his remarks were "only a repeat of what Maj. Gen. Belay Seyoum, Chief of the North Command, relayed at a public conference to the question repeatedly raised by the people."

"I just repeated what Major General Belay Seyoum said at an earlier meeting held at Hawulti Semaetat hall as this question was repeatedly raised by the people," Ataklti said

According to the interim mayor, the youth raised the question and the General gave the answer accordingly. "By the next day when we held another public conference with civil servants, similar question was raised about this matter and I just quoted General Belay on what he said the previous day, and explained that the government is working on the issue with due attention." he told Addis Standard.

When asked to comment further on the exact nature of Eritrean force's involvement, Atikilti said he was not mandated to communicate such matter as it is a national issue and it is the command post that should deliver such issues related to national, sovereignty and border issues.

"I am not allowed to communicate such matter at my level, this is a national issue and the responsible body should respond to this issue," Atakilti said.

"The Tigray people are suffering at the moment with many people having their houses demolished and many more suffering from hunger lack of infrastructure. If anyone who claims to be a supporter and representative of the Tigray people, there are lots of issues that need to be addressed rather than focusing such matters."

Dr. Mulu Nega, interim CEO of Tigray Regional State Provisional Administration, made a brief remark to Addis Standard that "corrective measure" has been taken with regard to the interim mayor's speech as he is "not authorized to discuss such matters"

According to Dr. Mulu's brief remark by phone, thess issues are exclusively given to the members of the military command post who are mandated to deliver the press on the current security situation in the regional state. AS

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