On Thursday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council that the conflict in Ethiopia had moved beyond the northern Tigray region and that “a humanitarian disaster is unfolding before our eyes.”
Ethiopia has been mired in a conflict that began in Tigray nine months ago and has since expanded to other parts of the country. Other outbreaks of ethnic and political conflict over land and resources have also been difficult for the administration to quell.
Gunmen killed at least 150 people in western Ethiopia last week in an armed group attack on local inhabitants, according to the state-appointed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission on Thursday.
“Inflammatory rhetoric and ethnic profiling are tearing apart the social fabric of the country,” Guterres told the 15-member Security Council. “All parties must immediately end hostilities without preconditions and seize that opportunity to negotiate a lasting ceasefire.”
The United States called out the Ethiopian government for not responding positively to proposals for negotiations and instead publicly calling for the mobilization of militia; the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) for expanding its own military campaign into the Afar and Amhara regions; and neighboring Eritrean Defense Forces for re-entering Tigray.
“This is all gravely concerning to all of us. These developments are eroding the unity, the sovereignty, and the territorial integrity of the Ethiopian state,” said Richard Mills, deputy U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Guterres said more than two million people have been displaced in the conflict and millions more need aid, including food, water, shelter and health care, adding: “At least 400,000 people are living in famine-like conditions.”