USAID Chief Urges Tigray Rebels To Exit Border Regions

US aid chief Samantha Power has called on rebel forces to “immediately” withdraw from two regions bordering Ethiopia’s war-hit Tigray, as the conflict threatens to envelop other parts of the country and humanitarian groups struggle to reach cut-off populations

Addis Ababa, (APP – UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 4th Aug, 2021 ) :US aid chief Samantha Power has called on rebel forces to “immediately” withdraw from two regions bordering Ethiopia‘s war-hit Tigray, as the conflict threatens to envelop other parts of the country and humanitarian groups struggle to reach cut-off populations.

Tigray has been in the throes of a humanitarian crisis for months, with hundreds of thousands of people suffering from famine, according to the UN, while access for aid to the northern region remains hobbled by delays and bureaucratic hurdles.

The situation took a turn for the worse this week when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government suspended two aid groups active in Tigray, accusing them of “disseminating misinformation”.

Ethiopia said Wednesday the Dutch section of Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym MSF, and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) “have been disseminating misinformation in social media and other platforms outside of the mandate and purpose for which the organisations were permitted to operate.

” The move sparked condemnation from Washington, with the US ambassador to the UN calling the suspension “unacceptable”.

“I know the work of @MSF and @NRC_Norway well, and they are internationally respected. Ethiopia must reconsider this decision,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on Twitter.

Tigray has been wracked by violence since November, when Abiy sent troops to topple the ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in response to what he said were attacks by the group on Federal army camps.

The 2019 Nobel Peace prize winner declared victory within weeks after government forces took the Tigray capital Mekele, but TPLF leaders remained on the run and fighting continued.

The war took a stunning turn in late June when pro-TPLF forces re-entered Mekele, Abiy declared a unilateral ceasefire and the army mostly pulled out of Tigray.

Since then the rebels have launched new offensives into the Amhara and Afar regions which border Tigray, displacing tens of thousands of people.

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