Ethiopia: three refugees killed in an airstrike in Tigray, according to the UN

Three Eritrean refugees, including two children, were killed in an airstrike on Wednesday in Ethiopia’s warring Tigray region, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said. “I am deeply saddened to learn that three Eritrean refugees, including two children, were killed yesterday in an airstrike which struck the Mai Aini refugee camp in northern Ethiopia”, the head of the UN refugee agency, Filippo Grandi, said in a statement.

Four other refugees were injured. But their lives are not in danger, and the aid organization is helping them to receive medical treatment. “My thoughts and my deepest sympathy go out to the relatives of the victims of this attack”, said Filippo Grandi, stressing that “Refugees should never be a target.” “As UNHCR continues to gather and corroborate details of the event, I reiterate UNHCR’s call on all parties to the conflict to respect the rights of all civilians, including refugees,” he insisted.

War erupted in November 2020 after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent the federal army to the northern Tigray region to remove local authorities from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which challenged his authority and accused him of attacking military bases. Abiy Ahmed proclaimed victory three weeks later, after the capture of the regional capital Mekele. But in June, the TPLF took over most of Tigray, then advanced in the neighboring regions of Afar and Amhara. For a time, the rebels claimed to be about 200 km from the capital Addis Ababa. But at the end of December, they announced their withdrawal towards Tigray, marking a new turning point in the war.

“Save lives”

The whole region is placed under a communications blackout and the United Nations has denounced a “De facto blockade” humanitarian aid arrivals to the six million inhabitants of Tigray. No aid truck has arrived in Tigray since mid-December, according to the UN. And some heavy goods vehicles that were waiting to enter the region have been looted, said in its latest report Ocha, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Since July 12, only 1,338 trucks have been able to enter Tigray, or less than 12% of the trucks needed to come to the aid of the population, UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric explained Thursday during his meeting. daily press. “As we have told you on several occasions, we need around 100 trucks a day to meet the humanitarian needs of the people of Tigray”, he added. Health centers have been closed in parts of Tigray due to a lack of essential drugs, according to Ocha.

“WHO has not been authorized to deliver medical supplies to Tigray since mid-July last year. And this, despite repeated requests from the WHO “, said on Thursday the director general of the UN health agency, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, himself from this region. “Even in the most difficult times of conflict in Syria, South Sudan, Yemen and elsewhere, WHO and its partners have been able to save lives. However, in Tigray, the de facto blockade prevents people from having access to humanitarian aid, which kills them ”, he lamented, during a press conference on the Covid-19.

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