BY ADDISALEM MULAT
On the heels of the humiliating defeat and heavy loss, the terrorist TPLF group was forced to leave the occupied Amhara ad Afar areas. Though the Ethiopian forces have been showing restraint and ceased fire, in the present climate, the terrorist group is setting in motion launching fresh attacks against Afar state with impunity and claiming the lives of civilians, and blocking access to humanitarian aid.
In an effort to result in the blockade and control of the key Ethio-Djbouti corridor, fighters of the terrorist group have begun an offensive in Afar state that is taking a huge toll on civilians and resulting in the displacement of thousands of communities. Despondently, the group has been also getting itself fully involved in extreme looting, property destruction, and displacing hundreds of thousands and other criminal acts.
In the face of international silence, the terrorist group has been intensifying violence in the region leaving many to fall into deep water. The situation in the region is jumping out of the frying pan into the fire and moving into uncharted territory with hundreds of thousands clamoring for humanitarian aid.
Notwithstanding the fact that the government of Ethiopia pulled out all the stops to bring lasting peace, the group has been doubling down the stalks of its criminal behavior in the Afar region.
Sad as it may sound, instead of making every effort to get to the bottom of the problem, the international community has been turning a blind eye to atrocities being committed in the region. On the basis thereof, people residing in the region have been facing uncontrollable problems that cannot be replaced in a little while.
In an interview with Horn Review, Ambassador Dina Mufti, Spokesperson and Director General for Public Diplomacy at the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “The renewed provocation on the part of the TPLF continues to impact innocent civilians and disrupt their livelihoods. Though the government has allocated funds for relief efforts, the hostile group continues to impede the delivery of relief not only to Tigray but also to the conflict-affected zones in Afar and Amhara regions.
“In addition to funds and resources allocated to these regions, we are doing our level best to create unimpeded access. This is a priority for the Ethiopian government and remains the interest of the international community,” he added.
“As Ethiopians, we believe that the people should be helped, and we are primarily concerned with their welfare and security. Unfortunately, this group has been impeding, if not halting, our efforts. This fact should not only be widely acknowledged but thoroughly condemned, as delivery of assistance is contingent upon access to conflict-affected areas. This is the current reality, and we need to consider these facts and call a spade a spade.”
He went on to note that Ethiopia is indeed working with international partners, like the WFP. However, as Amhara and Afar regions are most severely affected by TPLFs aggression, Ethiopia calls on its partners and stakeholders to place heavier emphasis on efforts to relief destinations in these regions. Though some gaps in aid and delivery are expected, there remains a visible gap between the urgent need on the ground and existing efforts in meeting them.
By the same token, the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) called on all stakeholders to make a speedy humanitarian response to address people that have been affected by the terrorist TPLF belligerence in the Afar State.
In an interview Debebe Zewede, the Commission’s Public Relations Head gave to local media said that TPLF forces committed a crime against humanity in Afar and over 350,000 civilians have been displaced from home due to the criminal factions’ second-round raid in the area. People that have been sheltered in refugee camps are in dire humanitarian situations and require a hasty response.
“Though the Commission has made commendable efforts to reach the needy and provide them the support on a regular basis, the provision is very limited and the refugee camps are in a deplorable situation concerning amenities. Accordingly, all concerned bodies are expected to render the much-desired food and non-food items to the displaced.”
The terrorist TPLF continues using heavy artillery and mechanical warfare to annihilate Afar innocent people and destruct huge property as the area is a big step to control the strategic avenues. Simply, it shows that the terrorist TPLF continues its crimes as it is counting or makes upping revenge for its initial defeat in Afar, said nurse and advocate in Afar State, Valerie Browning.
The group continues killing innocent citizens, displacing massive people, gang-raping, looting, and destroying private and public property in Afar whilst this nature was continued in Amhara State in the invaded, Browning elaborated. The above claims were corroborated by Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA).
TPLF terrorist group has fired heavy artillery into the refugee camp in Afar State and killed five Eritrean refugees, and injured many others, claimed, recently. The group’s attack on the refugee camp that hosted about 34 thousand Eritrean refugees forced many of them to leave. After displacing the refugees, TPLF forces have been using the camp as a military garrison, said ARRA Branch Office Coordinator in Afar State Fasil Gashaw.
Condemning the attack he said that the act was against international refugee law and all concerned bodies need to discharge their role in relocating the displaced refugees. The government is preparing a new refugee camp in the Serdo area of Afar State and within a week the refugees will be relocated, he said.
Speaking with the new US Embassy Charge d’ Affaires, Ambassador Tracey Ann Jacobson, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Demeke Mekonnen said that due to the TPLF’s attack and expansion of the conflict to the Afar Region, the safe passage of humanitarian supplies to Tigray is compromised, further obstructing humanitarian aid efforts.
Demeke welcomed the Charge d’ Affaires to Ethiopia, expressing Ethiopia’s keen interest to cement bilateral relations with the United States of America, according to MoFA. Speaking on the peace initiatives in Ethiopia, he explained Ethiopia expects the U.S. government to hold the TPLF accountable for its atrocious acts and continued provocations in the Afar and Amhara region.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister also explained the efforts of the government of Ethiopia in providing unfettered humanitarian access to Tigray.
Talking of the Ethiopian government measures to ensure peace and stability, Demeke stated that the establishment of the National Dialogue Commission, the appointment of the Commissioners, and preparation for the commencement of the inclusive national dialogue sooner.
He mentioned the lifting of the state of emergency and the release of high-profile political figures from prisons as positive steps that promote sustainable peace and stability in Ethiopia.
Demeke also spoke about the efforts of the government of Ethiopia in implementing the recommendations of the joint UN-UEHRC investigations on alleged human rights abuses in Tigray, mentioning the need to probe into the human rights abuses perpetrated by the TPLF in the Afar and Amhara regions.
He said He also said measures, such as the exclusion of Ethiopia from AGOA eligibility and the proposed Draft Bill HR6600 do not commensurate with the longstanding relationship between the two countries.
Ambassador Tracey Jacobson, on her part, thanked the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister for the briefing and expressed her government’s concerns over human rights and humanitarian issues related to the conflict in the northern part of the country.
She also expressed interest in further strengthening the relationship between Ethiopia and the United States.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister finally reassured the Charge d’ Affairs his country’s readiness to work with her and render support for the successful undertaking of her duties in Ethiopia.
The March 5/2022