Ethiopia Says Aid Deliveries Resume in Tigray

The Ethiopian government has said its military controls 70% of the restive northern region, as meetings for peace with Tigrayan fighters continue in Kenya.

Ethiopian officials on Friday said government forces control 70% of the war-torn Tigray region, claiming that aid deliveries have resumed.

The ongoing conflict between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Ethiopian government has unleashed a humanitarian crisis, with deliveries of food and medicine to the region often blocked by fighting.

On November 3, the Ethiopian government and the TPLF agreed to a cease-fire mediated by the African Union.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s national security adviser Redwan Hussein said on Twitter that aid was being delivered “even to areas not yet held by ENDF (Ethiopian National Defence Forces).”

“35 trucks of food and three trucks of medicine arrived (in) Shire,” Hussein said.

Shire is a Tigrayan city near the border with Eritrea, which was captured by the Ethiopian forces last month before a peace deal was agreed with Tigrayan forces later in November.

Are the Ethiopian official’s claims true?

Hussein’s claims are difficult to verify, as phone and internet connections in Tigray remain cut off, with foreign journalists and human rights researchers denied access to the region.

However, the French AFP news agency quoted the spokesman of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) as denying Hussein’s claims.

“He is plucking his facts out of thin air,” spokesman Getachew Reda told AFP in a message.

A Tigray-based humanitarian worker described to AFP Hussein’s statements as “completely false.”

“No aid is allowed to enter Shire city at all,” the aid worker said. “No services have been reconnected and no flights are allowed.”

The US State Department’s Africa Bureau had questioned the return of humanitarian aid to Tigray in a tweet in the early hours of Friday. It stressed that “vulnerable Ethiopians in Tigray, Afar and Amhara need aid now.”

The peace deal that the Ethiopian government reached with Tigrayan rebel forces was mediated by the African Union in South Africa. It seeks to end a two-year conflict that has caused a humanitarian crisis in the region with a population of 6 million people.

But the agreement came with several conditions requiring implementation for lasting peace.

Implementing the ceasefire thus still looks challenging due to concerns over skirmishes since the agreement was reached on November 2.

rmt/aw (AFP, AP)

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