The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) says rebels in Ethiopia’s Tigray region have been looting aid warehouses, saying they are a “great concern for humanitarians.”
In a report by AFP, Sean Jeans, head of the USAID mission in Ethiopia said several of USAID relief warehouses have been completely emptied in areas, particularly Amhara, where the TPLF soldiers have gone into.
“We know for a fact that the TPLF, every town they’ve gone into, they looted the warehouses, they’ve looted trucks, they’ve caused a great deal of destruction in all the villages they visited and it’s a great concern for humanitarians,” Jones told Ethiopian state television EBC.
Since the Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed sent troops into Tigray to overthrow the TPLF, he said Northern Ethiopia has been wracked by violence since November, the regional ruling party, saying the move came in response to attacks on army camps.
Abiy has further rejected early appeals from high-level envoys from the AU for talks with Tigrayan leaders, sticking to his line that the conflict was a limited “law and order” operation.
Last Thursday, the bloc announced the appointment of Nigerian former president Olusegun Obasanjo as a high representative for the Horn of Africa, saying it was part of a “drive to promote peace, security, stability & political dialogue.”
But on Sunday, TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda dismissed the initiative, accusing the African Union of being biased in favour of the Ethiopian government.
Since the beginning of the conflict, Abiy’s government and the Tigrayan rebels have traded accusations over the issue, with each side accusing the other of obstructing humanitarian convoys and taking a millions of population into famine.
With the conflict heating up, the humanitarian toll has surged, with aid workers struggling to reach populations and 400,000 people facing famine-like conditions in Tigray, according to the United Nations.
The UN’s humanitarian agency OCHA also announced on Thursday, Aug. 26, that the flow of aid to Tigray had virtually stopped since Thursday, Aug. 20, with no trucks able to enter the region.
“Stocks of food assistance are depleted, and new distributions of food have stopped, other than in areas where supplies were already dispatched and en route,” OCHA said in a briefing note.
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