Sight Magazine – Ethiopia’s Tigray region says it will respect humanitarian ceasefire
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tigrayan rebel forces in Ethiopia have said they will abide by a ceasefire offered by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government as long as sufficient aid is delivered to their war-torn northern region ‘within a reasonable timeframe’ .
The government in Addis Ababa declared a cessation of hostilities on Thursday, saying it was to allow aid to flow to Tigray.
Eritrean refugee children walk outside the Adi Harush refugee camp in the town of Mai Tsberi in Tigray region, Ethiopia, June 26, 2021. PHOTO: Reuters/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo.
However, it was not immediately clear how he would apply this on the battlefield, where a mix of regional fighters and volunteer militias battled Tigrayan forces.
“The Tigray government will do everything it can to ensure that this cessation of hostilities is a success,” the Tigray regional government said in a statement late Thursday.
War broke out between the rulers of Tigray – the Tigray People’s Liberation Front – and the central government led by Abiy, in November 2020.
The conflict, which then engulfed neighboring Amhara and Afar regions, killed thousands of civilians and displaced millions in northern Ethiopia and neighboring Sudan.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for “the restoration of public services in Tigray, including banking, electricity and telecommunications,” a UN spokesman said.
“Our teams, humanitarian supplies and trucks are ready to deliver as soon as safe and unrestricted access is guaranteed by all parties,” the UN World Food Program said in a statement.
The United Nations has said that more than 90% of Tigray’s 5.5 million people need food aid.
Food distribution in the mountainous region has fallen to a new record this month, due to the depletion of food stocks, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in its latest weekly bulletin.
The previous record low was in March of last year. Only about 68,000 people received food aid between March 10 and 16, OCHA said.
The Tigray and Amhara regions were relatively calm during the week of March 15, but armed clashes were reported in parts of the Afar region, OCHA said. He did not specify who was involved in the fighting.
The federal government has always said aid is allowed into Tigray, but only a small amount has been given since the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Tigray in late June last year.
Tigray leaders have blamed federal authorities and authorities in the Afar and Amhara regions for blocking aid to Tigray, accusations they deny.
The central government has accused Tigrayan fighters of blocking aid because they invaded Afar, which lies on the only land route currently open to Tigray.
The United Nations and the United States have welcomed the Addis Ababa declaration of a ceasefire, which follows a visit by the American special envoy for the Horn of Africa, David Satterfield, to Addis Ababa this week.