The crisis in the Tigray region continues to affect innocent lives

Aerial view of Mekelle, Tigray, Ethiopia. Aerial view of Mekelle, Tigray, Ethiopia. Photo by Yuzu20 on iStock

16 June 2021

While Eritrean troops are scheduled to leave Tigray soon, in the meantime they are subjecting the local population to starvation and violence 

After an unprecedented amount of armed violence carried out by the Eritrean army currently occupying the northern Tigray region in Ethiopia, government officials have stated their intent to remove troops from the area. They had the mission of supporting the Ethiopian national government in a tactical manner against the Tigrayan rebellion. However, reports given by the outgoing United Nations (UN) aid chief, Mark Lowcock, have stated that the Eritrean troops are raping, murdering, starving, and displacing Tigrayan civilians throughout its small mountainous villages. 

According to Locklow, aside from rounding up and torturing displaced individuals within Tigray, these troops are also using starvation as a weapon of war. They are burning crops, markets, and blocking food supplies from entering the villages. If this continues to occur, Locklow has suggested that a situation similar to the 1984 great famine could be repeated. 

As a response, the Ethiopian U.N envoy stated that the troops are scheduled to leave the region shortly and it is only a matter of “finalizing the last details of some routine paperwork.” This response, however, does not provide true confidence that a full removal of forces is immediately forthcoming. Sadly, every added day that those troops are stationed in the area, is one more day where they have the opportunity to inflict violence and starvation upon the local population without fear of reprisal.

Furthermore, the casualties attributed to this conflict are absolutely worrisome. The violence has taken the lives of thousands of Tigrayan civilians, while forcing over two million from their homes. The situation has become so dire that in April of this year, the Security Council issued a statement of concern about the humanitarian situation. 

In terms of hunger, Locklow concluded his statement by adding that about 350,000 Tigrayans are suffering from famine-like conditions due to the armed violence. As a result, the international community is imploring the Ethiopian government to order the expulsion of the Eritrean troops immediately, while pressuring the United Nations security council to intervene in a more direct manner.




Author: Sergio Gomez, Editor: Xavier Atkins

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