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Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield will represent the United States at the Tokyo Olympics closing ceremony. Thomas-Greenfield, who has made refugee and humanitarian issues a priority at the U.N., also plans to engage with the Refugee Olympic Team, which is participating for the second time in history. She would be the first U.S. ambassador to the U.N. to meet with the refugee team. This year’s Olympic Refugee Team of 29 athletes was drawn from 55 contenders who fled their home countries of Afghanistan, Cameroon, Congo, Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Venezuela. The Olympic Games will end Aug. 8 and the closing ceremony will be broadcast at 7 a.m.
Persons: United Nations Linda Thomas, Greenfield, Thomas, Raymond Greene, Marcia Bernicat, Lady Jill Biden, Joe Biden Organizations: WASHINGTON —, United Nations, Tokyo, Team USA, Olympic, U.S, Mission, NBC, Thomas, Refugee Olympic, NBC News, . Security, NBCUniversal, MSNBC, Embassy, Olympic Games Locations: WASHINGTON, WASHINGTON — U.S, United States, U.S, Afghanistan, Cameroon, Congo, Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Turkish, Russia, Tokyo, Canada
Turkey detains 200 Afghan migrants en route to Italy - coastguard
  + stars: | 2021-07-28 | by ( ) sentiment -0.99   time to read: +2 min
ISTANBUL, July 28 (Reuters) - Turkish authorities have intercepted a boat carrying more than 200 Afghan migrants in the Aegean sea heading for Europe, Turkey's coastguard and the International Organization for Migration said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File PhotoThe migrants intercepted in the Aegean were believed to be en route to Italy, the coastguard official said. The coastguard detained two Turkish nationals steering the boat and escorted migrants to a deportation centre in the western Turkish town of Ayvacik. President Tayyip Erdogan's government, already hosting 3.7 million Syrian refugees, wants to avoid another refugee wave, and Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said two weeks ago that Turkey was closely monitoring any influx of Afghan migrants. The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR says there were over 100,000 Afghan asylum seekers in Turkey last year.
Persons: Umit, Tayyip Erdogan's, Hulusi Akar, Yesim Dikmen, Ezgi Erkoyun, Dominic Evans, Timothy Organizations: Turkey's coastguard, International Organization for Migration, NATO, REUTERS, coastguard, Defence, United Nations, UNHCR, Timothy Heritage, Thomson Locations: ISTANBUL, Europe, Turkey, Iran, United States, Chios, Cesme, Izmir province, Italy, Syria, Eritrea, Pakistan, Turkish, Ayvacik, Iranian, Van
At least 17 migrants drown off Tunisia in shipwreck -Red Crescent
  + stars: | 2021-07-21 | by ( ) sentiment -0.99   time to read: +1 min
TUNIS, July 21 (Reuters) - At least 17 Bengali migrants drowned in a shipwreck off Tunisia as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Italy from Libya, while more than 380 were rescued by the coastguard, the Tunisian Red Crescent said on Wednesday. The boat had set off from Zuwara, on Libya's northwest coast, carrying migrants from Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Mali and Bangladesh, the humanitarian organisation said. "17 Bengali died and more than 380 other migrants rescued in a boat that set off from Libya's Zuwara towards Europe," Red Crescent official Mongi Slim said. Arrivals in Italy, one of the main migrant routes into Europe, had been falling in recent years, but numbers picked up again in 2021. Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Chris Reese and Grant McCoolOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Persons: Slim, Tarek Amara, Chris Reese, Grant McCool Organizations: coastguard, Crescent, Thomson Locations: TUNIS, Tunisia, Italy, Libya, Tunisian, Zuwara, Libya's, Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Mali, Bangladesh, Europe, Africa
Refugee team gets green light for Tokyo Games after positive case
  + stars: | 2021-07-18 | by ( ) sentiment -0.93   time to read: +1 min
The Olympic Rings installed on a floating platform are seen in front of the city skyline ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Tokyo, Japan July 14, 2021. REUTERS/Fabrizio BenschTOKYO, July 18 (Reuters) - The Olympic refugee team will start arriving in Tokyo later on Sunday, the International Olympic Committee said, ending speculation about their participation after one team official had tested positive for COVID-19 in a training camp in Qatar. The 26 of the total 29 refugee athletes that form the team had been in a training camp in Qatar and had to delay their departure for Tokyo earlier this week following the positive case. "First group is due to arrive at Narita airport tonight after their departure for the Tokyo 2020 Games was delayed." The IOC unveiled its first refugee team at the Rio Games to raise awareness of the issue as hundreds of thousands of people were pouring into Europe from the Middle East and elsewhere escaping conflict and poverty.
Persons: Fabrizio Bensch TOKYO, Karolos, Christian Radnedge Organizations: Rings, Tokyo, REUTERS, Olympic, International Olympic Committee, IOC, Rio Games, Thomson Locations: Tokyo, Japan, Qatar, Narita, Syria, South Sudan, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iran, Rio de Janeiro, Europe
Tigray rebels say they capture main town, push south and west
  + stars: | 2021-07-13 | by ( ) sentiment -1.00   time to read: +2 min
NAIROBI, July 13 (Reuters) - Rebels in Ethiopia's Tigray region said on Tuesday they had recaptured a main town from rival forces and were pushing to take back more territory. War broke out last November between Tigray's ruling party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), and Ethiopian federal forces. But some parts in the west and south are also claimed by neighbouring Amhara region, which has sent fighters to the contested areas. "The Amhara forces were routed in the highlands north of Alamata and to the east of Alamata as well as the federal forces. But neighbouring Amhara region claims the land and its forces, along with Ethiopian troops and allies from neighbouring Eritrea, are stationed in the territory.
Persons: Mekelle, Getachew Reda, Getnet Adane, Getachew, Mai Tsebri, Abiy Ahmed, Maggie Fick, Emma Thomasson, Angus MacSwan Organizations: Reuters, Ethiopian, United Nations, Food, Thomson Locations: NAIROBI, Ethiopia's Tigray, Tigray's, Tigray, Mekelle, Amhara, Alamata, Mai, Eritrea
Troops in Eritrean uniforms are seen on top of a truck near the town of Adigrat, Ethiopia, March 14, 2021. The push sparked calls from Amhara politicians for irregular militias to mobilise and arm themselves. The war pits Tigrayan forces - both formal and irregular - against the Ethiopian military and its allies from Amhara and the neighbouring nation of Eritrea. The aid worker, citing information received from colleagues there, said locals greeted Tigrayan forces with songs, cheers, and celebratory gunfire. The fighting started overnight, two refugees living in a camp adjacent to the town told Reuters, saying gunfire began around 1 a.m. and continued intermittently for about 14 hours.
Persons: Baz Ratner, Abiy Ahmed, Mai Tsebri, Tigrayan, Abiy, TPLF, Lotte Knudsen, Mahlet Hailu, Dawit Endeshaw, Emma Farge, Stephanie Nebehay, Omar Mohammed, Katharine Houreld, William Maclean Organizations: REUTERS, Forces, National Movement of Amhara, Ethiopian, Donors, Reuters, Eritrean, EU, United Nations, Human Rights, Foreign Affairs Ministry, Thomson Locations: Adigrat, Ethiopia, Baz Ratner NAIROBI, Ethiopia's Tigray, Amhara, Africa's, Tigray, Tigray's, Eritrea, Mai, Ethiopia's, Mekelle, Geneva, Addis Ababa, Nairobi
A tank damaged during the fighting between Ethiopia's National Defense Force (ENDF) and Tigray Special Forces stands on the outskirts of Humera town in Ethiopia July 1, 2021. REUTERS/StringerNAIROBI, July 6 (Reuters) - The commander of rebel forces in Tigray on Tuesday called for a negotiated ceasefire with the Ethiopian government and a political solution to the conflict in the northern region, saying the government could not win the war. "We are restraining ourselves for a realistic political solution to the whole problem. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's spokesperson and the head of the government task force on Tigray did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Aid has not been to enter Tigray since Mekelle fell but the government denies it has prevented shipments.
Persons: Stringer, Tsadkan, Abiy Ahmed's, TPLF, Abiy, Getnet Adene, Maggie Fick, Angus MacSwan Organizations: Ethiopia's National Defense Force, Tigray Special Forces, REUTERS, Ethiopian, Reuters, Communist, Thomson Locations: Tigray, Humera, Ethiopia, Stringer NAIROBI, Mekelle, Eritrea, Amhara, Addis Ababa
Ethiopia's Tigray demands troop withdrawals for ceasefire talks
  + stars: | 2021-07-04 | by ( Dawit Endeshaw | ) + 0.00   time to read: +2 min
A tank damaged during the fighting between Ethiopia's National Defense Force (ENDF) and Tigray Special Forces stands on the outskirts of Humera town in Ethiopia July 1, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo/File PhotoADDIS ABABA, July 4 (Reuters) - Ethiopia's Tigray region wants a full withdrawal of troops from Eritrea and the neighbouring state of Amhara before it can engage in any talks with the federal government about a ceasefire, it said in a statement on Sunday. The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), the regional authority driven out last year by Ethiopian forces and troops from neighbouring Eritrea, returned to the region's capital Mekelle on Monday to cheering crowds. "Invading forces from Amhara and Eritrea must withdraw from Tigray and return to their pre-war territories," the statement said. His government has been battling the TPLF since late last year after accusing it of attacking military bases in Tigray.
Persons: Stringer, Abiy, Getachew Reda, Getachew, Duncan Miriri, David Clarke Organizations: Ethiopia's National Defense Force, Tigray Special Forces, REUTERS, Ethiopian, United Nations, Thomson Locations: Tigray, Humera, Ethiopia, ADDIS ABABA, Eritrea, Amhara, Mekelle, United
Hundreds of thousands face famine in Ethiopia's Tigray, United Nations warns
  + stars: | 2021-07-03 | by ( ) sentiment -0.99   time to read: +2 min
The Security Council on Friday held its first public meeting since fighting broke out last year between Ethiopian government forces — backed by troops from neighboring Eritrea — and TPLF fighters with Tigray's former ruling party. Acting U.N. aid chief Ramesh Rajasingham told the council that the humanitarian situation in Tigray had "worsened dramatically" in recent weeks. "More than 400,000 people are estimated to have crossed the threshold into famine and another 1.8 million people are on the brink of famine. While Russia and China did not object to Friday's public meeting of the Security Council on Tigray, they made clear that they believed the conflict is an internal affair for Ethiopia. Ambassador said: "We believe that interference by the Security Council in solving it is counterproductive."
Persons: , Ramesh Rajasingham, Linda Thomas, Greenfield, Ethiopia's U.N, Taye Atske Selassie Amde, Thomas, Russia's U.N Organizations: United Nations, Security Council, Security, Eritrea —, Ethiopian, NBC Locations: Ethiopia's Tigray, Eritrea, Tigray, U.S, Ethiopia, of Africa, Russia, China, United States, France, Britain
At least 43 migrants drown in shipwreck off Tunisia, Red Crescent says
  + stars: | 2021-07-03 | by ( ) sentiment -0.97   time to read: +1 min
TUNIS, July 3 (Reuters) - At least 43 migrants drowned in a shipwreck off Tunisia as they tried to cross the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy, while another 84 were rescued, the Tunisian Red Crescent told Reuters on Saturday. The boat had set off from Zuwara, on Libya's northwest coast, carrying migrants from Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea and Bangladesh, the humanitarian organisation said. "The navy rescued 84 migrants and 43 others drowned in a boat that set off from Libya's Zuwara towards Europe,” Red Crescent official Mongi Slim said. Arrivals in Italy - one of the main migrant routes into Europe - had been falling in recent years, but numbers picked up again in 2021. Reporting By Tarek Amara; Editing by Alex Richardson and Ros RussellOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Persons: Slim, Tarek Amara, Alex Richardson, Ros Russell Organizations: Crescent, Reuters, Ministry, Thomson Locations: TUNIS, Tunisia, Libya, Italy, Tunisian, Zuwara, Libya's, Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Bangladesh, Europe, Africa
Members of Amhara special forces stand guard on the Tekeze river bridge near Ethiopia-Eritrean border near the town of Humera, Ethiopia July 1, 2021. Eritrea and the Amhara region sent troops into Tigray to support the army in the first days of the war. Amhara officials say they have taken back a swathe of territory, equal to about a quarter of Tigray, that was historically theirs and have no intention of leaving. Residents and humanitarian officials pointed the finger at the military or Amhara forces. On Thursday, Humera was teeming with Ethiopian soldiers, Amhara regional police and local militiamen, who sat under trees in outdoor coffee shops, their rifles within arms' reach.
Persons: Stringer, Abiy Ahmed, Reuters couldn't, Getachew Reda, Getnet, Billene Seyoum, Abiy, Murithi Mutiga, Amare Goshu, Humera, Zewdu, Katharine Houreld, Giulia Paravicini, Maggie Fick, Dawit Endeshaw, Alexandra Zavis, Nick Macfie Organizations: REUTERS, Forces, Ethiopian National Defence Force, Reuters, UN, Crisis, United Nations, Food, Eritrean, Prosperity Party, Amhara, Thomson Locations: Ethiopia, Eritrean, Humera, Tigray, Government, NAIROBI, Mekelle, Adigrat, Addis Ababa, Eritrea, Ethiopian, Amhara, churchyards, Horn of, Shire, Amare, Nairobi
UNITED NATIONS, July 2 (Reuters) - Top U.N. officials warned the Security Council on Friday that more than 400,000 people in Ethiopia's Tigray were now in famine and that there was a risk of more clashes in the region despite a unilateral ceasefire by the federal government. read more"More than 400,000 people are estimated to have crossed the threshold into famine and another 1.8 million people are on the brink of famine. There are reports of continued clashes in some places as pressure builds internationally for all sides to pull back. While Russia and China did not object to Friday's public meeting of the Security Council on Tigray, they made clear that they believed the conflict is an internal affair for Ethiopia. Ambassador said: "We believe that interference by the Security Council in solving it is counterproductive."
Persons: Ramesh Rajasingham, Linda Thomas, Greenfield, Taye Atske Selassie Amde, Amde, Thomas, Rosemary DiCarlo, Russia's U.N, Doyinsola Oladipo, Rosalba O'Brien, Philippa Fletcher, Daniel Wallis Organizations: UNITED NATIONS, Security Council, Ethiopian, United Nations, Eritrean, Security, Thomson Locations: Ethiopia's Tigray, Eritrea, Tigray, U.S, Ethiopia, of Africa, Amhara, Russia, China, United States, France, Britain
After Sudden Defeat, Captured Ethiopian Soldiers Are Marched to Prison
  + stars: | 2021-07-02 | by ( Declan Walsh | ) sentiment -1.00   time to read: +1 min
International aid agencies warned of a looming humanitarian catastrophe and said it was unclear if the rebel victory would allow international assistance to start reaching those most in need in the Tigray region, which is bordered by Eritrea to the north and Sudan to the west. The U.N. said that at least 350,000 people in the conflict-ravaged region had entered a state of famine. The U.S. Agency for International Development put its estimate for those facing famine conditions at 900,000. “The bridge’s destruction will have an impact,” said Claire Nevill, a spokeswoman for the World Food Program. Redwan Hussein, an Ethiopian government spokesman, said on Friday that two bridges connecting the Tigray region had been destroyed, but denied that the government or allied forces were responsible.
Persons: , Claire Nevill, Redwan Hussein Organizations: U.S . Agency for International Development, Humanitarian Affairs, Amhara Special Forces, Ethiopian, World Food Locations: Tigray, Eritrea, Sudan, Shire, Amhara
Ethiopia is at war with itself. Here's what you need to know
  + stars: | 2021-06-30 | by ( Eliza Mackintosh | ) + 0.00   time to read: +11 min
The Tigray conflict has its roots in tensions that go back generations in Ethiopia. Because of a previous conflict with neighboring Eritrea, there are also a large number of federal troops in Tigray. For months at the start of the conflict, Abiy denied that civilians were being harmed or that soldiers from Eritrea had joined the fight. Separate investigations by CNN and Amnesty International in February uncovered evidence of massacres carried out by Eritrean forces in the Tigrayan towns of Dengelat and Axum late last year. All actors in the conflict have been accused of carrying out atrocities, but Eritrean forces have been linked to some of the most gruesome.
Persons: Abiy Ahmed, Abiy, Tigrayans, Mahibere Dego, Tigrayan, Redwan Hussein, Antony Blinken, Ned Price, Biden, Price Organizations: CNN, Ethiopian, United Nations, Amnesty International, Eritrean, World Peace Foundation, UN, Food, Wednesday, US State Department, State Department Locations: Africa, Tigray, Ethiopia, Abiy, Africa's, Gedaref, Sudan, Eritrea, Regional, Mekelle, Amhara, Addis Ababa, Wukro, Mekele, Dengelat, Axum, Tigrayan, Mahibere, Jimma
NAIROBI, Kenya — Ethiopia’s government declared an immediate, unilateral cease-fire Monday in its Tigray region after nearly eight months of deadly conflict as Tigray fighters occupied the regional capital and government soldiers retreated in a region where hundreds of thousands are suffering in the world’s worst famine crisis. Abiy's transformation from making peace to waging war has appalled many observers since the fighting in Tigray erupted in November. Ethnic Tigrayans, even those who didn't support the former ruling Tigray People's Liberation Front before the war, say they have been targeted harshly for suspected links with the Tigray fighters. Eduardo Soteras / AFP - Getty ImagesEthiopia said the cease-fire will last until the end of the crucial planting season in Tigray. There was no immediate comment from the Tigray fighters, with whom Ethiopia had rejected talks.
Persons: Abiy Ahmed, Yasuyoshi Chiba, Antonio Guterres, Abiy, Monday's, , , Wereb Michael, Eduardo Soteras, Abraham Belay, Desta Haileselassie Hagos Organizations: Kenya —, Getty, NBC, Ethiopian, Mekele University, Tigray, United Nations, UNICEF, Security Council Locations: NAIROBI, Kenya, Tigray, Africa, Ethiopia, Mekele, AFP, Wereb, Amhara, , Eritrea, U.N, New York, United States, United Kingdom, Ireland
On Tuesday, jubilant crowds poured onto the streets of Tigray’s regional capital, Mekelle, to welcome fighters from the Tigray Defence Forces who quickly took full control of the city. As regional government officials appointed by Mr. Ahmed fled south in armed convoys on Monday, the prime minister called for a temporary cease-fire. Tigrayan forces, which spent months regrouping and recruiting new fighters before launching a rolling counterattack, vowed on Tuesday to cross state and national borders to pursue Eritrean and Ethiopian forces if required. “People are on the streets celebrating the departure of federal forces, they are all jubilating” said one Mekelle resident, reached by telephone. Ethiopia is an important strategic ally of the U.S., which it has helped in missions to neutralize terrorist groups, including al Qaeda and Islamic State, in the region.
Persons: Abiy Ahmedhas, Ahmed, , al Organizations: Ethiopia’s, Tigray Defence Forces, Troops, Eritrean, Ethiopian, United, Islamic Locations: Tigray, of Africa, Mekelle, Eritrea, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, U.S, al Qaeda, Islamic State
Live Tigray Rebels in Ethiopia Retake Regional Capital: Live Updates The rebels are consolidating their hold on the capital, Mekelle, and its outskirts after Ethiopian government forces retreated, in a dramatic turn in the eight-month civil war. Tigrayan forces retake their capital as Ethiopia’s military withdraws. A destroyed tank in Ethiopia’s Tigray region last month. Electricity and phone lines across the region remained down on Tuesday, a situation that had many wondering whether the Tigray region would remain cut off. A food distribution line at a school in Shire, in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, in March.
Persons: Ben Curtis, Abiy Ahmed, , Declan Walsh, Baz Ratner, Isaias Afwerki, Eduardo Soteras, Abiy, Mekelle, Abiy Adiy, Richard Pérez Organizations: Tigray Rebels, Regional Capital, Associated Press, Ethiopia’s Army, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Tigray Defense Forces, Mekelle . New York Times, DJIBOUTI Addis Ababa OROMIA, Ethiopian National Defense Forces, Refugees, Electricity, ., United Nations, International, Agence France, Tigrayan, International Crisis, United, Ethiopian Air Force Locations: Ethiopia, Mekelle, Tigray, Mekelle ., Ethiopia’s, ERITREA YEMEN SUDAN TIGRAY, DJIBOUTI Addis Ababa, DJIBOUTI Addis Ababa OROMIA ETHIOPIA SOMALIA KENYA, Eritrean, Shire, Ethiopia’s Tigray, Eritrea, United Nations, Adigrat
A building is seen through a bullet hole in a window of the Africa Hotel in the town of Shire, Tigray region, Ethiopia, March 17, 2021. Video footage from a resident in the northern town of Shire who said government-allied Eritrean forces had pulled out showed similar scenes. The Ethiopian military spokesman, Eritrean information minister and Amahara regional spokesman all said they were unable to comment. On Tuesday, residents said Eritrean forces could no longer be seen in Shire, a large town at the junction of several main roads. Another resident in Shire told Reuters "overnight there was a massive movement of Eritrean troops from Axum, Shire to Sheraro direction."
Persons: Baz Ratner, Reda, General Antonio Guterres, Doctors, Giulia Paravicini, Katharine Houreld, Catherine Evans Organizations: REUTERS, Ethiopian, Reuters, Diplomats, . Security, Shire, United Nations, Thomson Locations: Africa, Shire, Tigray, Ethiopia, GONDAR, Mekelle, Ethiopia's, Amhara, Eritrea, Axum, Sheraro
"We will not stand by in the face of horrors in Tigray," Godec told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. He also urged the Eritrean government to comply immediately with the cessation of hostilities and called for a permanent ceasefire in the region. It was not clear if other parties to the conflict would accept the ceasefire. The Ethiopian military spokesman, Eritrean information minister and Amhara regional spokesperson all said they were unable to comment. Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis, Patricia Zengerle and Doyinsola OladipoOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Persons: Robert F, Godec, Baz Ratner WASHINGTON, Robert Godec, Washington, Karen Bass, Daphne Psaledakis, Patricia Zengerle Organizations: U.S, REUTERS, U.S . State Department, State Department's Bureau, African Affairs, Ethiopian, Representatives Foreign, Thomson Locations: Nairobi, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, United States, Tigray, Ethiopia's Tigray, Mekelle, Africa
REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File PhotoA quarter of a century after the IMF and World Bank launched their HIPC debt relief program, Sudan is the penultimate economy to come through the process, and “by far the largest case in absolute terms,” an IMF official said last month. Decision point confirmation clears the path for immediate interim relief on some of Sudan’s debt. To get comprehensive, irrevocable reduction in debt, Sudan must meet conditions for “completion point,” which many predict Khartoum can hit within three years. “The U.S. is pleased to join other Paris Club members in providing both immediate and future debt relief,” the U.S. Treasury said in a statement on Tuesday. NO PANACEAOf 39 countries eligible for HIPC programme, only Sudan and Eritrea were left of the ones that took part.
Persons: Umit, , “ It’s, Ian Clark, Lazard, Omar al, Bashir, Magdi Amin, Chad –, Jonas Horner Organizations: Reuters, Monetary Fund’s, REUTERS, IMF, World Bank, Paris Club, African Development Bank, . Treasury, , Crisis Locations: Sudan, Khartoum, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, China, U.S, Eritrea, – Ethiopia, Zambia, Chad, Mozambique, Congo
Ethiopia Declares Cease-Fire After Rebels Take Tigray Capital
  + stars: | 2021-06-28 | by ( Nicholas Bariyo | ) sentiment -1.00   time to read: +1 min
Ethiopia declared a unilateral cease-fire in its eight-month war in the northern Tigray region on Monday, hours after separatist fighters entered the provincial capital in a blow to the government of Africa’s second-most populous nation. The capture of Mekelle, which also serves as the de facto capital for many humanitarian-aid agencies operating in the region, and the federal government’s declaration of a cease-fire, could mark a decisive shift in the conflict. The U.S. last month imposed sanctions on officials in Ethiopia, one of its key allies on the African continent, pointing to allegations of widespread atrocities against civilians in Tigray. It was unclear how the Tigrayan forces would respond to the cease-fire declared by the government of Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. There was also no immediate response from neighboring Eritrea, whose troops have been fighting alongside the Ethiopians and whose leader, Isaias Afwerki, has been a longtime opponent of the Tigrayan rebels.
Persons: Witnesses, Tigrayans, Abiy Ahmed, Isaias Afwerki Organizations: AK, Tigray Defense Forces, Ethiopian, U.S, Ethiopia’s Locations: Ethiopia, Tigray, Africa’s, Eritrea
UNICEF accuses Ethiopian troops of targeting its Tigray office
  + stars: | 2021-06-28 | by ( Michelle Nichols | ) sentiment -1.00   time to read: +2 min
The logo of the United Nations Childrens Fund, UNICEF, is pictured at their German headquarters in Cologne, file. REUTERS/Ina FassbenderNEW YORK, June 28 (Reuters) - The U.N. children's agency on Monday accused Ethiopian government troops of dismantling satellite equipment in UNICEF's office in the country's Tigray region and violating international humanitarian law and immunities of the world body. "We are not, and should never be, a target," UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a statement. "UNICEF's priority in Tigray, and across Ethiopia, is to help the most vulnerable children, including the 140,000 children already facing famine-like conditions," she said. Fighting broke out in the region in November between government troops and the region's former ruling party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).
Persons: Ina Fassbender, Henrietta Fore, Fighting, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Michelle Nichols, Steve Orlofsky Organizations: United Nations Childrens Fund, UNICEF, Ethiopian, Troops, WHO, Medecins Sans, Thomson Locations: Cologne, Tigray, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Spanish
(CNN) In a stunning about-turn in the devastating eight-month civil war in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, the Ethiopian government declared an immediate and unilateral ceasefire after Tigrayan troops retook the regional capital Mekelle on Monday evening. Less than a week into the offensive by Tigrayan forces, the Ethiopian military had withdrawn from the capital, a UN official told CNN on Monday. Earlier on Monday, witnesses told CNN that Ethiopian soldiers were seen entering banks, media bureaus and the offices of humanitarian agencies. "This act violates UN privileges and immunities and the rules of International Humanitarian Law regarding respect for humanitarian relief objects." UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric joined in on the criticism of Ethiopian forces when asked by journalists at the United Nations in New York.
Persons: Abiy Ahmed, Getachew Reda, Reda, Henrietta Fore, Stephane Dujarric, Dujarric Organizations: CNN, Ethiopian, Tigray Defense Forces, Mekelle, UN, Ethiopian Government, Tigray Interim Government, International Organization for Migration, UNICEF, Food Program, Ethiopian National Defense Forces, United Nations, United Locations: Ethiopia's, Tigray, Mekelle, Getachew, Addis Ababa, Eritrea, Togoga, Mekele, Ethiopia, New York, United Nations
extrajudicial killings, CNN has previously compiled extensive eyewitness testimony that Ethiopian soldiers and soldiers from neighboring Eritrea were perpetrating massacres sexual violence and other abuses in the region. Even after Ethiopian soldiers withdrew, the massacre site remained under attack. Villagers told CNN the continued presence of soldiers in the area was an attempt to hide evidence of the killings. An arms expert told CNN these would normally be used in light machine guns and assault rifles like those seen in the massacre video. At the time, another one of Alula's brothers told CNN it was hard to accept.
Persons: TMH, Ethiopian Prime Minister's, Mahibere Dego, Abiy Ahmed, Mariam Megdelawit, Alula's Organizations: CNN, Amnesty, Tigrai Media, Ethiopian Prime, Ethiopian Locations: Tigray, Ethiopia, Mahibere Dego, Ethiopia's Amhara, Eritrea, Axum, Alula
Election officials empty a ballot box during the Ethiopian parliamentary and regional elections, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, June 21, 2021. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File PhotoADDIS ABABA, June 22 (Reuters) - Voters in Ethiopia's Sidama region went to the polls a day late on Tuesday as officials counted ballots from other regions in an election marred by an opposition boycott, war and reports of irregularities in some areas. Authorities could not hold polls on Monday in four of Ethiopia's 10 regions including Sidama, where there were logistical problems, according to the election board. There was no comment from him on Tuesday morning and his spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment as counting proceeded. Abiy's newly formed national Prosperity Party is widely forecast to defeat the fragmented opposition of dozens of mostly ethnically based parties.
Persons: Baz Ratner, Abiy Ahmed, Abiy, Birtukan Midekssa, Berhanu Nega, Dawit Endeshaw, Ayenat Mersie, Giulia Paravicini, Maggie Fick, Timothy Organizations: Ethiopian, REUTERS, Authorities, Prosperity Party, United Nations, Ethiopian Citizens, Social Justice, Southern, Nationalities, Timothy Heritage, Thomson Locations: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia's Sidama, Eritrea, Tigray, Amhara, Southern Nations, Peoples '
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