UN paralyzes food aid in Ethiopian cities of Kombolcha and Dese after supplies were plundered

The United Nations announced on Wednesday the suspension of food aid in the Ethiopian cities of Kombolcha and Dese, in the Amhara region, after failing to raid that failed to prevent staff from being held “at gunpoint”.

The UN Secretary-General’s spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, has reported that “large amounts of supplies” have been looted to the World Food Program (WFP) in Kombolcha, including food for children. The government reported Monday that it has regained both this city and Dese, which was captured by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF) last October.

“Small-scale food theft has turned into massive looting of Kombolcha warehouses in recent days, apparently by elements of the Tigray armed forces and some members of the local population,” he lamented in the organization’s daily press.

UN paralyzes food aid in Ethiopian cities of Kombolcha and Dese after supplies were plundered
UN paralyzes food aid in Ethiopian cities of Kombolcha and Dese after supplies were plundered

Dujarric has warned that these incidents “will further exacerbate malnutrition and prolong food insecurity in northern Ethiopia,” where an estimated 9.4 million people in the Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions are in need of help from the country’s Food Safety Group.

It has also stated that “this type of harassment by the armed forces against humanitarian personnel is unacceptable” and “undermines the ability of the United Nations and its humanitarian partners to provide assistance when it is needed most”, particularly when humanitarian workers are with them a growing number are faced with access problems.

The spokesman also condemned that in the past two days three WFP trucks used on humanitarian missions in Amhara had been “confiscated” by military personnel and “used for their own purposes”.

For all these reasons, Dujarric has reiterated his request to all parties to the Ethiopian conflict to “respect and protect” the humanitarian aid staff and tools. “It is forbidden to attack, destroy, embezzle or plunder supplies, facilities, materials, units or aid vehicles,” he recalled under international humanitarian law.

The conflict in Ethiopia began on November 4, 2020 when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive in retaliation for the attack on the army base in Mekelle after months of tensions between the TPLF and the central government over postponing the general election. finally took place in June, in which Abiy won a landslide victory over calls for boycotts and non-voting in several areas – including Tigray – due to uncertainty.

However, in June the TPLF made important strides that enabled it to retake Mekelle, prompting Abiy, citing humanitarian grounds, to announce a unilateral ceasefire that was rejected by the group, which extended its offensive to the adjoining Amhara and Afar regions, which one The war spread to the rest of the country.

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