Tuesday, January 18

Ethiopia: humanitarian aid suspended in the area of ​​Tigray affected by an airstrike

Aid organizations have suspended activities in the Dedebit area, hit by a deadly airstrike on a camp for internally displaced people in Ethiopia’s warring Tigray region, the UN said on Sunday.

“Humanitarian partners have suspended activities in the area due to continued threats of drone strikes,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) told AFP.

According to Ocha’s preliminary information, the attack, carried out around midnight on Friday against the IDP camp in the town of Dedebit, “claimed dozens of civilian casualties, including deaths”.

The Tigrayan rebels on Saturday accused the government of carrying out a drone attack that they said killed 56 people, while an official at the main hospital in the region said 55 dead and 126 injured.

Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) spokesman Getachew Reda also claimed on Twitter on Sunday that the Eritrean army, which has supported Ethiopian government forces against the rebels and has been accused of committing atrocities, launched attacks against its fighters in northwest Tigray on Saturday.

He accused Eritrea of ​​seeking to “sabotage all peace efforts in the region, supposedly to protect the unity of Ethiopia.”

But it was impossible to verify these claims independently, access to Tigray being very restricted and communications cut off in this region.

Ethiopian government officials did not respond to AFP’s requests.

– “Intensification of strikes” –

According to Ocha, the lack of essential supplies, in particular medical equipment and fuel, “seriously disrupts the response to the injured and has led to the almost total collapse of the health system in Tigray”.

“The intensification of airstrikes is alarming, and we once again remind all parties to the conflict that they must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law,” the UN agency added.

The attack came as the Ethiopian government announced the amnesty of several senior TPLF officials and other opposition leaders, after a call for “national reconciliation” made on the occasion of the celebration of the Orthodox Christmas by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The amnesty was hailed by the United Nations and the African Union, spearheads of international efforts to end the conflict, who called for taking this opportunity to start a “dialogue”.

It was not clear whether the government had offered negotiations to the TPLF, the party that effectively ruled Ethiopia for three decades until Mr. Abiy took power in 2018, and is now considered a group. terrorist “by Addis Ababa.

The conflict began in November 2020 when the federal army intervened in Tigray to dismiss the regional authorities – from the TPLF – who were contesting its authority.

A TPLF counter-offensive enabled the rebels to reconquer most of the region at the end of June 2021 and to advance in those neighboring Amhara and Afar. They said in November that they had arrived 200 km from Addis Ababa.

The conflict has claimed thousands of lives. Tigray is subject, according to the UN, to a “de facto blockade” of humanitarian aid.

The rebels withdrew at the end of December in their stronghold of Tigray in the face of a military offensive by government forces, which regained control of a series of strategic towns.

The clashes had been on a lull since the TPLF retired, although the rebels accuse the government of continuing to carry out deadly drone strikes on Tigray.

Three other people were killed in an airstrike on a refugee camp in the region, the UN reported this week.

The US State Department’s Office for African Affairs called the attacks “unacceptable,” calling on Twitter “for an immediate end to hostilities, a swift launch of an inclusive national dialogue and unhindered access” to the government. ‘aid.


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