Ethiopia

  1. 'Tiny percentage' get aid as Tigray access still blocked - WHO

    BBC World Service

    A worker covers WHO sacks of grain.
    Image caption: Humanitarians say millions are in urgent need of aid

    The World Health Organization says it's only able to help a "tiny percentage" of those in need in the Ethiopian region of Tigray a month after a ceasefire was agreed.

    It said it did not have unfettered access to deliver medical aid.

    Tigrayan fighters have started to withdraw from frontlines and their representatives are meeting the federal government to discuss disarmament.

    Aid workers say Eritrean troops and Ethiopian regional militias are continuing to kill and abuse civilians in Tigray.

    The region was almost completely cut off from the rest of the world during the two-year war.

  2. Dangote Cement factory workers kidnapped in Ethiopia

    Ameyu Etana

    BBC Afaan Oromoo

    Armed men affiliated with Ethiopia's rebel Oromo Liberation Army have been blamed for kidnapping more than a dozen staff working for the Dangote Cement factory - owned by Nigerian billionaire and richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote.

    Two officials of the company told the BBC the company service bus was ambushed on Wednesday morning in Ada'a Berga district, less than 90km (56 miles) west of the capital Addis Ababa.

    A senior official at the company told the BBC 17 staff members who were on their way to a mineral extracting site had not returned yet.

    According to the company, it is the largest cement plant in the country.

    There has been no immediate comment from the Oromo Liberation Army, which has repeatedly been accused of extorting cash from people.

  3. TPLF to surrender heavy weapons – Ethiopia

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    The Ethiopian ambassador to Kenya has said that the rebel Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) will surrender its heavy weapons on Saturday following talks between senior army and TPLF commanders.

    Ambassador Bacha Debele made the announcement in a video posted on YouTube.

    "Regarding the surrender of heavy weapons, they [TPLF] were supposed to surrender them on 17 November, but this was not implemented but it has now been decided for them to surrender them on 3 December," he said.

    Mr Bacha said the field commanders are "meeting everyday" to discuss the disarmament process and TPLF combatants are being assembled in designated areas.

    "Information I obtained today indicates that activities have begun to assemble [TPLF combatants] in designated areas. They are implementing this [disarmament process]," he added.

    The ambassador also said it would be embarrassing to talk about the human cost of the war in public.

    The Ethiopian government and the TPLF signed a peace agreement in South Africa early this month to peacefully end the two-year devastating war.

  4. Ethiopia rules out peace talks with Oromo rebels

    Ameyu Etana

    BBC Afaan Oromoo

    Ethiopia’s government has dashed any hopes of peace talks with rebels in the restive Oromia region. Expectations had been raised after federal negotiators sat down and made a deal with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to end the two-year-long civil war in the north.

    The Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), which has also been fighting the federal government, at one time formed an alliance with the TPLF.

    But an Oromia regional government spokesman, Hailu Adugna, has since told local media that the government has no plans to sit with a group “which has no chain of command or political agenda”.

    The claim has been disputed by an OLA spokesperson who said it will continue to fight.

    The rebels in Oromia have been accused of being involved in a number of deadly attacks, which it denies.

    The authorities say that despite there being no talks they will continue to receive OLA youth who have opted to lay down their arms.

    The situation in Oromia, the home region of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, has been overshadowed by the war in Tigray, but attacks by different armed groups have continued unabated.

    The authorities have been blamed for not protecting civilians.

    The OLA is a splinter group of the Oromo Liberation Front, which is now a legally registered political party. As well as making an alliance with the TPLF, the OLA has also made deals with other rebels in the western part of the country to put pressure on Mr Abiy's government.

    The OLA says it is fighting to secure full autonomy for the Oromo people and has been labelled a terrorist organisation by the government.

    Video content

    Video caption: Oromo Liberation Army: On the ground with Ethiopian fighters
  5. Ethiopia hosts internet forum despite shutdowns

    Ameyu Etana

    BBC Afaan Oromoo

    Ethiopia is hosting the UN's annual internet forum despite an internet blackout of more than a year in the war-devastated region of Tigray.

    More than 2,500 delegates from all over the world are attending the forum, which is focusing on ''connecting all people and safeguarding human rights''.

    However, the UN's decision to host the event in Addis Ababa has raised eyebrows among internet and human rights campaigners.

    It’s not uncommon for Ethiopia's authorities to shut down the internet in areas affected by conflict, making it difficult for families to keep in touch.

    In the past, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed defended blackouts, saying "internet is not water, internet is not air'' and shutdowns were aimed at saving lives.

    He added that decisions were made to save lives during conflicts.

  6. AU mediators visit war-devastated Tigray

    Tesfalem Araia

    BBC Tigrinya

    Screen grab of video showing destroyed houses
    Image caption: Ethiopia's military has carried out air strikes in the northern Tigray region

    African Union mediators are visiting Ethiopia's war-devastated Tigray region in their latest effort to implement a peace deal signed by the federal government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).

    Nigeria's former President Olusegun Obasanjo and South Africa's former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka are in the regional capital, Mekelle, for talks with TPLF leaders.

    This is their first visit to Mekelle since the peace deal was signed on 2 November.

    Little food, medication and other essentials have reached Tigray, despite Mr Obasanjo saying on 12 November that aid should have gone in "yesterday".

    The region has been under a government blockade since the war started more than two years ago.

    Some researchers estimate that famine, a lack of health care and fighting has caused the deaths of more than 300,000 civilians.

    Another major issue is the disarmament of Tgrayan forces, and the withdrawal of Eritrean forces deployed to bolster federal government troops fighting the TPLF.

    The US - which had observer status during the peace talks - has called for this to happen "concurrently".

  7. Video content

    Video caption: Ethiopia civil war: We are ready to leave the past behind us - TPLF

    The TPLF spokesman says his group is ready to address political problems in a “peaceful” manner.

  8. US urges withdrawal of foreign forces in Tigray

    Members of the Amhara Special Forces seat on the top of a truck in the city of Alamata, Ethiopia, on December 11, 2020.
    Image caption: The conflict in Ethiopia has led to thousands of deaths and warnings of a famine.

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed about the implementation of the ceasefire deal between government troops and Tigray forces in the north.

    “[The] Ethiopian Prime Minister and I discussed the urgent need to implement the cessation of hostilities agreement and to secure lasting peace in northern Ethiopia,” Mr Blinken said in a tweet.

    In a readout of his phone call to the Ethiopian leader, Mr Blinken stressed the need to immediately implement the deal “including withdrawal of all foreign forces and concurrent disarmament of the Tigrayan forces”.

    Mr Abiy has already reiterated his government's commitment to the peace deal.

    The secretary of state said the US was committed to support the African Union-led process including its monitoring and verification mechanism of the peace agreement

    Mr Blinken recognised ongoing efforts by the Ethiopian government "to work towards unhindered humanitarian assistance and restoration of basic services" in Tigray and neighbouring Afar and Amhara regions.

    Amhara and Afar regional forces, as well as Eritrean troops, have been fighting alongside the federal forces war against the Tigrayan fighters.

    On 2 November the Ethiopia's government and Tigrayan fighters agreed, in a surprise move, to halt their two-year conflict.

    The conflict has led to thousands of deaths and warnings of a famine.

  9. Ethiopia rebel stronghold hit by measles outbreak

    Ameyu Etana

    BBC Afaan Oromoo

    Measles vaccine
    Image caption: Vaccination alleviates the spread of measles

    Residents in remote areas of western Ethiopia say children have been dying from a measles outbreak for the past few months as there is little access to hospital.

    Those who talked to the BBC say road blocks erected as a result of the ongoing conflict in the region had hampered movement.

    The federal government has been fighting a deadly insurgency in western Oromia – a stronghold of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) rebels.

    Health official Dereje Abdena confirmed to the BBC about the outbreaks of measles and malaria in the region - including in areas hit by drought.

    The authorities said they were trying to reach out to those affected.

    "Just a few days ago we buried two children who died from measles. Medics have left the area," a resident of Kondala district in West Wollega zone said.

    Measles is highly contagious and can cause serious illness. It can sometimes be fatal.

    In a recent report, the UN said the humanitarian situation in western Oromia region "remains complex" with hundreds of thousands displaced due to conflicts.

    ‘’Access, security and resources remain challenging to reach the affected population," the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

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  10. Eritrean army accused of atrocities in Tigray

    BBC World Service

    Eritrean soldiers
    Image caption: Eritrean soldiers have supported Ethiopia's federal army during the conflict (file photo)

    A senior official from Ethiopia's northern Tigray region says Eritrean forces are still committing atrocities despite the recent deal with Addis Ababa to bring an end to the two-year war.

    Tigray People's Liberation Front spokesman Getachew Reda said Eritrean forces were killing civilians and looting and destroying property.

    Several human rights organisations have accused Eritrean soldiers of committing atrocities in Ethiopia in the past, but these claims have been denied by Eritrean officials.

    Mr Getachew also said Tigrayan fighters would not lay down their arms until the federal government ensured the withdrawal of Eritrean and other forces from the region.

    An Ethiopian official said the Eritrean issue would be resolved as soon as federal troops were stationed in Tigray's border areas.

    Read more:

  11. Ethiopia allies to leave Tigray 'after rebels disarm'

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Ethiopia's Government Communication Service Minister Legese Tulu has said that all forces fighting in the Tigray region who are not part of the federal army will withdraw as soon as the Tigrayan rebels disarm.

    Amhara and Afar regional forces, as well as Eritrean troops, have been fighting alongside the federal forces in the two-year war against the rebels of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

    The government and the TPLF signed a peace agreement on 2 November in Pretoria, South Africa, to end the war in the north of the country, and the army and rebel commanders also signed a cessation of hostilities agreement in Nairobi, Kenya, on 12 November.

    Meanwhile, an opposition party in Tigray region, Baytona Tigray, has rejected the peace agreement, saying the TPLF does not represent the Tigray people.

  12. Food aid entering Tigray after peace deal - WFP

    Food aid trucks

    The World Food Programme (WFP) says the first food aid trucks to enter Ethiopia's northern Tigray region since the signing of a peace deal earlier this month are rolling into the region.

    "Critical food assistance will now be delivered to communities in coming days. More food, nutrition, medical cargo will follow," WFP tweeted, along with a video of the aid trucks driving.

    On 2 November the warring sides - Ethiopia's government and Tigrayan fighters - agreed, in a surprise move, to halt their two-year conflict which led to thousands of deaths and warnings of a famine.

    Half of Tigray's 5.5 million people need food aid, with many of them starving.

    Read more about the Tigray peace deal here.

    View more on twitter
  13. Ethiopian woman among seven executed in Kuwait

    BBC World Service

    Kuwait has carried out its first executions in five years, hanging seven people including two women despite pleas for clemency from international rights campaigners.

    According to the public prosecution service, those put to death are a woman from Ethiopia and another from Kuwait, a Syrian and a Pakistani man, and three Kuwaiti men.

    Kuwait has executed nearly 80 people since the 1960's, mostly on murder or drugs cases.

    Amnesty International has urged the Gulf country to impose a moratorium on executions.

  14. Ethiopia's PM promises to implement Tigray truce

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addresses a Parliament session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
    Image caption: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made the promise in Ethiopia's national parliament today

    Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has told the country's parliament that he intends to "implement honestly" the ceasefire agreement signed between the federal government and Tigrayan leaders.

    Mr Abiy added that now was not the time to address the issue of western Tigray which was occupied by forces from the neighbouring Amhara region at the beginning of the war in 2020.

    The truce was signed on 2 November following talks brokered by the African Union (AU).

    Despite the agreement, humanitarian supplies had not reached Tigray until today, leading to the World Health Organization's chief, Tedros Adhanom, calling for aid to be promptly delivered.

    Mr Ghebreyesus added that many people had been dying from treatable diseases and starvation.

    A leading aid agency, the International Committee of the Red Cross, today tweeted that their first convoy had reached Tigray's capital, Mekelle, with urgent medical supplies.

    View more on twitter
  15. Tigray official defends peace deal amid criticism

    Line Tsigab

    BBC Tigrinya

    Tigray delegate Getachew Reda attends the AU-led negotiations to resolve the conflict in northern Ethiopia, in Pretoria, South Africa, November 2, 2022
    Image caption: Getachew Reda was a key negotiator at talks in South Africa

    A senior member of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) has defended his decision to sign a peace pact with the Ethiopian government aimed at ending the devastating war in the northern Tigray region.

    Getachew Reda's comments came after heavy criticism of the deal he signed with the federal government in South Africa's capital, Pretoria, on 2 November, following talks brokered by the African Union (AU).

    In a statement at the weekend, the TPLF's top leadership body, the central committee, said it did not send "any representative to South Africa to sign a peace agreement, nor is there any TPLF army”.

    Many TPLF leaders felt that Mr Getachew should have signed the deal on behalf of the Tigray regional government, but Mr Getcahew said the federal government had refused to agree to this.

    "We didn’t want to reject the peace and aid needed by the people of Tigray because they didn’t accept our name," he said.

    "They said: 'We don’t know the government of Tigray. We will call you TPLF.’ We need peace. In this regard the African Union and others know that we have been arguing to be called as the government of Tigray because we have been elected by the people. But the [Ethiopian] law doesn't recognise us," he added.

    Some Tigrayans have welcomed the deal, but others, at home and abroad, have accused TPLF leaders of selling out the community.

    TPLF negotiators also agreed to the disarmament of Tigrayan forces, and giving the Ethiopian military control over security in the region, despite the fact that it has been accused of committing atrocities against civilians.

    Critics of the deal are outraged, saying the TPLF had no authority to disarm fighters who are in the Tigray Defence Forces, which they see as an "army" and "a public institution that protects the people of Tigray".

    Eritrean troops entered Tigray early in the conflict to fight Tigrayan forces, and have also been accused of committing widespread atrocities. They have not yet withdrawn.

    The TPLF was re-elected as the Tigray regional government in September 2020. But it held the poll in defiance of the federal government, which refused to recognise its rule over the region.

    The dispute contributed to the outbreak of a war that has left hundreds of thousands dead, and millions in need of aid as the federal government enforced a blockade in the region.

    The agreement also provides for unhindered aid deliveries to Tigray, but Mr Getcahew acknowledged that this was not yet happening.

    "We are waiting. What can we do?"

    Continued fighting has also been reported in western Tigray around Tselemti.

    Western Tigray was seized by forces from the neighbouring Amhara region early in the war, and they have not withdrawn from the area.

  16. Ethiopian forces control 70% of Tigray - government

    Getachew Reda (2nd L), advisor to the President of the Tigray Region, Debretsion Gebremichael and the spokesperson for the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), attends alongside Ethiopia's national security adviser Redwan Hussein (L) the start of the senior commanders meeting on the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement between the government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People's Liberation Front in Nairobi on November 7, 2022.
    Image caption: Representatives of Tigray and the government in Addis Ababa have been meeting in Nairobi

    The Ethiopian government says that its federal forces now control 70% of the northern region of Tigray, a claim that has been denied by an official from the war-torn region

    Ethiopian Prime Minister’s national security adviser, Redwan Hussien tweeted that “70% of Tigray is under the Ethiopia National Defence Forces] and that aid was “flowing like no other times” including in areas he said were not under the control of the government’s forces.

    The spokesman of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), Getachew Reda, has however denied the claim, the AFP news agency reports.

    "He is plucking his facts out of thin air," Mr Getachew is quoted as saying.

    Representatives of Tigray and the government in Addis Ababa have been meeting in Kenya this week to discuss the implementation of the peace deal signed last week in South Africa.

    The two parties signed an agreement committing to end two years of fighting in Tigray.