The government denies the accusation that it “uses hunger as a weapon of war” during the conflict that began in November last year.
The Ethiopian government has denied blocking humanitarian aid to its northern Tigray region and has said it is doing everything it can to rebuild infrastructure amid allegations that it is starving it. ‘and weapon.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which ruled the region bordering Eritrea, said earlier this week that it was back in control of the Tigrayan capital, Mekelle, after nearly eight months. of struggle.
The Ethiopian government has declared a unilateral ceasefire that the TPLF has dismissed as a mockery.
There are reports of ongoing clashes in some areas as international pressure grows for all parties to withdraw.
“The allegation that we are trying to suffocate the Tigrayan people by denying humanitarian access and using hunger as a weapon of war is beyond the stake,” Deputy Prime Minister Demeke told the diplomat in Addis Ababa on Friday. Mekonnen.
“We have made every effort to rebuild damaged infrastructure and restore electricity, telecommunications, the Internet and banking.”
“These critical infrastructures continue to be a target of attack by the TPLF, which has made it extremely difficult to provide uninterrupted services to the public.”
Ethiopian soldiers, backed by troops from neighboring Eritrea and fighters from the Ethiopian region of Amhara, south of Tigray, have been fighting the TPLF since November 2020 after Addis Ababa accused the region’s then-party. of attacking federal military bases, an accusation denied by TPLF officials.
TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda told Reuters news agency this week that the group condemned the closure of government services as a continuing act of war and was ready to facilitate access to the international aid group to save its people from starvation.
Earlier last month, the United Nations said at least 350,000 people in Tigray had been affected by the famine. Last week, the U.S. Agency for International Development estimated the number at 900,000.
The fight continues in “hot spots”
On Friday, the UN World Food Program (WFP) said it has resumed deliveries in Tigray, but will face access problems and is “far behind” in bringing wild supplies to people facing hunger.
“WFP suspended its operations for only about 48 hours and we started operating in the Northwest fairly quickly afterwards, managing to reach probably by the end of this weekend probably about 40,000 people,” said Tommy Thompson, emergency coordinator. of WFP, speaking by satellite telephone from Friday Mekelle.
“We hope to start shipping in central areas that have been extremely affected and that have very high CPI 4 and 5 after today,” he said, referring to international classifications of food insecurity for emergency and famine, respectively.
He added that fighting continued in some “hot zones”, and that his 35 staff had been “trapped” during the hostilities. But Thompson said he was “cautiously optimistic” an airlift could be installed in the coming days to speed up the delivery of aid.
On Monday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, announced a unilateral ceasefire in the undefeated region and the withdrawal of federal troops from Tigray.
However, the recovery of the central government army has been hampered by rebel fighters such as “absolute lie”, Claiming instead that they were forced out of the city.