The “onus” for tamping down the humanitarian suffering in Ethiopia’s restive Tigray region lays squarely with the government, the US said on Thursday.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Washington’s UN envoy, continued to voice alarm at the situation while addressing reporters at the UN’s New York headquarters, saying it “has had, and will continue to have, devastating consequences for thousands of innocent people,” and threatens regional stability.
“We urge the Ethiopian government to support an immediate end to the fighting in Tigray, and to that end the prompt withdrawal of Eritrean forces and Amhara regional forces from Tigray are essential steps. And we urge the broader region to work fast and together toward a peaceful solution,” she added.
The Tigray region has been the scene of fighting since November when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced military operations against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), who he accused of attacking federal army camps.
Government troops took control of the regional capital, Mekele, in late November, but the TPLF vowed to fight, and clashes have persisted in the Horn of Africa country, hampering efforts to deliver humanitarian aid.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said earlier on Thursday her office received information about ongoing fighting across the region, particularly in the center of Tigray region, as well as incidents of looting by “various armed actors.”
Bachelet’s office said it has information about the killing of eight protestors by security forces on Feb. 9-10 in Adigrat, Mekelle, Shire and Wukro.
More than 136 cases of rape have also been reported in hospitals in Mekelle, Ayder, Adigrat and Wukro in eastern Tigray region between December and January, said the office.
Thomas-Greenfield said the US has deployed a disaster assistance response team to Ethiopia to bolster the humanitarian response, “and our hope is that others will join us in this urgent, necessary life-saving effort.”