Rockets fired into Ethiopian region next to Tigray as refugees flee
November 20, 2020, Addis Ababa (dpa) – Rockets have been fired towards Ethiopia’s Amhara province, next to the conflict hotspot of Tigray, local officials said on Friday.
It is the second time the Ahmara regional government has complained of attacks from the neighbouring region – where a rebellious political party is engaged in fighting with government forces.
Meanwhile, the Norwegian Refugee Council warned of “dire conditions” facing tens of thousands of refugees fleeing Ethiopia to Sudan.
“People are sleeping out in the open. There are no tents, just blankets. There is some food, like porridge and water, but there are no toilets, showers or health services,” said the aid organization’s Sudan director Will Carter.
“There are pregnant women in the camp, diabetics with no insulin, people living with HIV/AIDS with no medical care, and children without parents,” he said.
Refugees had told aid workers “harrowing stories about witnessing people being killed,” he added.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is preparing for 200,000 arrivals from Ethiopia in Sudan, up from the current 33,000, spokesperson Babar Baloch told a press briefing in Geneva.
“We are increasingly concerned about the safety and security of all civilians in Tigray,” he added.
While people in the region are being uprooted daily, there is no access to humanitarian relief, and UNHCR has not heard from its staff on the ground since Monday, he said.
Separately, the government’s broadcasting authority in Addis Ababa announced the suspension of media credentials of a Reuters journalist working in the country.
“International media outlets like BBC, Deutsche Welle and Reuters were given a warning letter but they were not willing to rectify their mistakes,” Wondwossen Andualem, head of the authority, told local radio, adding the Reuters correspondent had been blocked from reporting.
It has been difficult to obtain on-the-ground information from Tigray.
The conflict between the Ethiopian government and Tigray began earlier this month when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed deployed troops to put down an uprising by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the region’s ruling political party, now designated a rebel group.