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At least 108 civilians have been killed since January in airstrikes allegedly carried out by Ethiopian air forces in the Tigray region, the UN said on Friday, citing possible war crimes.
Possible war crimes. At least 108 civilians have been killed since the start of 2022 in raids allegedly carried out by Ethiopian federal forces in the Tigray region, the United Nations said on Friday (January 14th). While the organ continues to warn against a “major humanitarian catastrophe”, it is also worried about “the continuation of arrests and arbitrary detentions” within the framework of this conflict which lasts for 14 months.
“We are alarmed by the multiple deeply disturbing reports that we continue to receive concerning the civilian casualties and the destruction of civilian property resulting from the airstrikes in the Tigray region of Ethiopia,” said a spokesperson for the High Commission on Ethiopia. UN Human Rights, Elizabeth Throssell.
“At least 108 civilians have been killed and 75 others injured since the start of the year, following airstrikes allegedly carried out by the Ethiopian air force” in this region, she said in a statement. regular press briefing by UN agencies.
The deadliest airstrike to date hit the IDP camp in Dedebit town on January 7, leaving dozens dead and injured. “We have since established that three of the seriously injured people died in hospital (…), which brings the toll of this single strike to at least 59 dead,” said the spokesperson for the High Commission.
Tigray has been the scene for 14 months of an armed conflict between the federal government and the former local authorities, from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which ruled Ethiopia for nearly 30 years until the Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018.
Crowned with the Nobel Peace Prize the year after taking office, the Ethiopian Prime Minister sent the federal army to Tigray in November 2020 to remove the regional authorities who had been challenging his authority for several months and whom he accused of attacking military bases.
“The parties to the conflict must (…) suspend any attack if it appears that the target is not a military objective or that the attack would be disproportionate. Failure to respect the principles of distinction and proportionality can constitute a war crime, “warned ElizabethThrossell.
World Food Program operations under threat
The High Commissioner is also concerned about “the continuation of arbitrary arrests and detentions” within the framework of the state of emergency in force in the country.
The UN welcomes the release of several detainees, “including key opposition figures who had been in detention for many months, but we remain concerned that many more – several hundred at least – remain in detention for a long time. indefinite period in appalling conditions, “said the spokesperson.
Tigray is also subject, according to the UN, to a “de facto blockade” of humanitarian aid.
“We are on the brink of a major humanitarian disaster,” warned a spokesperson for the World Food Program (WFP), Tomson Phiri, who attended the press briefing.
WFP is on the verge of having to suspend its food assistance operations in northern Ethiopia due to fighting that prevents the delivery of fuel and food.
“Escalation of conflict in northern Ethiopia means no WFP convoy has reached Mekele [la capitale du Tigré, NDLR] since mid-December (…) WFP aid workers on the ground say the warehouses are completely empty, “said Tomson Phiri.
WFP calls for “immediate guarantees” from all parties to the conflict to set up humanitarian land corridors in the north of the country.
“Food and fuel stocks are dangerously low. WFP has 4,000 tonnes of food left, which will only cover 10% of the 2.1 million people WFP needs to reach,” the door said. -speak. And the fuel will only be enough for the next ten days.