The crisis in Ethiopia is a “stain on our conscience,” the United Nations humanitarian chief said, as children and others starve to death in the Tigray region under what the U.N. has called a de facto government blockade of food, medical supplies and fuel. Martin Griffiths issued one of the most sharply worded criticisms yet of the world’s worst hunger crisis in a decade after nearly a year of war, in an interview with The Associated Press Tuesday.
Fighters from Ethiopia’s war-torn Tigray region have seized control of a UN World Heritage Site in a neighboring region, Reuters and AFP reported, citing eyewitnesses. Lalibela is home to 11 medieval monolithic churches that were carved out of rock some 900 years ago. The churches are a holy site for millions of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Some residents fled the town, located in Ethiopia’s Amhara region, as the Tigrayan fighters arrived, Reuters reported on Thursday.
At least 30 corpses have washed up on the Sudanese banks of a river that abuts Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray, according to two Ethiopian refugees and four Sudanese witnesses who said they had retrieved the bodies. On Monday, an Ethiopian government-run Twitter account said accounts of floating bodies circulating on social media were due to a fake campaign by Tigrayan “propagandists.”
Ethiopia’s government on Monday declared an immediate, unilateral cease-fire in its Tigray region after nearly eight months of deadly conflict and as hundreds of thousands of people face the world’s worst famine crisis in a decade. It comes as the country awaits the results of national elections that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed promoted as the centerpiece of reforms that won him the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
Dozens of people have been killed in Ethiopia’s Tigray region after an airstrike hit a busy market, according to witnesses. Health workers said soldiers have blocked medical teams from traveling to the scene after the village of Togoga was struck. It comes amid some of the fiercest fighting in the Tigray region since the conflict began in November, as Ethiopian forces supported by those from neighboring Eritrea pursue Tigray’s former leaders.
Almost 2,000 people killed in more than 150 massacres by soldiers, paramilitaries and insurgents in Tigray have been identified by researchers studying the conflict. The oldest victims were in their 90s and the youngest were infants. The list is one of the most complete public records of the mass killing of civilians during the war, and will increase international pressure on Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed.
Eritrea will pull its troops out of the Tigray region, Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has said, a potential breakthrough in a conflict in which both countries have been accused of abuses against civilians. Abiy, winner of the 2019 Nobel peace prize, faces mounting pressure to end fighting in the drawn-out conflict in which troops are thought to have carried out mass killings and rapes.
Hundreds of unarmed civilians were massacred in less than 48 hours by Eritrean troops during the war in the restive northern Ethiopian province of Tigray last year, Amnesty International has said. The soldiers systematically killed hundreds of civilians in the northern city of Axum, opening fire in the streets and conducting house-to-house raids in a massacre that may amount to a crime against humanity, it said in a report.
Hundreds of Ethiopian Jews have been airlifted to Israel – the first of several thousand waiting to emigrate there in a long-running saga. It comes weeks after Israel announced plans to do so, after failing to implement a previous pledge to take in the community. The immigrants are related to Ethiopian Jews brought to Israel decades ago in a series of secret operations.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed lauded his soldiers on Monday for victory over a rebellious northern movement, but the leader of Tigray’s forces said they were still fighting amid fears of a protracted guerrilla conflict. The nearly month-long war has killed hundreds and probably thousands, sent refugees into Sudan, enmeshed Eritrea, affected a peacekeeping mission in Somalia, and deepened divisions between Ethiopia’s myriad ethnic groups.