Ethiopia’s Tigray disaster: 4 assist employees killed

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According to aid organizations, four aid workers were killed in fighting in the Ethiopian region of Tigray last month.

The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) reported the deaths of three security guards, while the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said one of its employees had been killed.

Government troops have been fighting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the region since November 4th.

The government says it has control of Tigray and the conflict is over.

But the leaders of the TPLF say they are still fighting on different fronts.

Meanwhile, the United States has accused Eritrean forces of entering Tigray, which both Ethiopia and Eritrea are denying.

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Hundreds or even thousands of people are believed to have been killed in the conflict while around 50,000 fled to neighboring Sudan.

What do we know about the deaths?

Much information about the murders is still unclear. The area is still under a communication outage making it difficult to verify information.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo said it was “deeply saddened” by the death of three of its guards.

“Unfortunately, due to the lack of communication and the continuing uncertainty in the region, it was not yet possible to reach their families,” it said.

Media signatureThree consequences of the ongoing crisis in Tigray

The IRC said his agent was killed in Hitsats Refugee Camp in Shire on November 19, two days before government forces took control of the city.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our colleague. Our local people are at the heart of our work and critical to our ability to support and assist our customers,” the IRC said in a statement, adding Efforts to Information collect continued.

What’s the latest in Ethiopia?

Ethiopian troops captured Tigray’s capital Mekelle from the TPLF on November 28th. Fighting reportedly continued in parts of the region.

The Ethiopian government denied on Friday that the conflict was preventing aid to civilians.

Image rightsReutersImage descriptionAbout 950,000 people were displaced

Aid agencies say blocked access, delays and violence against employees are preventing relief supplies from being delivered to the area.

A statement from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said: “Proposals that active military fighting … in the Tigray region hamper humanitarian aid [are] untrue.”

Such statements undermine efforts to stabilize the region, he added.

Mr Abiy said last week that federal forces did not kill a single civilian in their offensive against Tigray.

Civilians who fled the fighting in Tigray last month told Reuters news agency that they saw government fighter jets bombed, street shots and machete attacks.

What is the US saying about Eritrea?

The US has called for the Eritrean armed forces to withdraw from Tigray. The US believes the Eritrean military – which has found common cause with Mr Abiy through the TPLF – invaded the region after coming under rocket fire.

“We are aware of credible reports of Eritrean military involvement in Tigray and consider this a serious development,” said a Foreign Ministry spokesman.

“We demand that such troops be withdrawn immediately.”

Both Ethiopia and Eritrea have denied that Eritrean troops were involved in fighting.

Almost 100,000 Eritrean refugees have lived in Tigray camps. Long before the current conflict, they fled political persecution and conscription.

The Ethiopian government said Friday it would return large numbers of “misinformed” Eritrean refugees to Tigray after they fled to the capital, Addis Ababa – a move that has alerted the UN.

What is the conflict about?

The conflict began on November 4th when Mr. Abiy ordered a military offensive against regional forces in Tigray.

He said he did so in response to an attack on a military base that housed government forces in Tigray.

Media signatureAnne Soy from the BBC reports from a refugee camp on the Sudanese-Ethiopian border

The escalation came after months of feuds between Mr Abiy’s government and the leaders of Tigray’s dominant political party, the TPLF.

The party stood at the center of power for nearly three decades before going broke following anti-government protests after Mr Abiy took office in 2018.

Correction: We removed an incorrect quote attributed to the UNHCR from this story

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