Ethiopian police demand list of ethnic minority Tigrayan UN staff

Ethiopian police demand list of ethnic minority Tigrayan UN staff

Ethiopian police demanded a list of ethnic minority Tigrayans, says the UN as it accuses regime of killing hundreds in war crimes

  • Police demanded UN office in Amhara, Ehtiopia, hand over list of Tigrayan staff 
  • Comes as Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed accused the Tigrayan leaders of treason
  • Hundreds killed due to government and Tigray People’s Liberation Front fighting

The Ethiopian police has demanded a list of ethnic minority Tigrayans from the UN as it accuses the regime of killing hundreds in war crimes.  

An internal UN security report revealed officers visited a UN World Food Programme (WFP) office in Amhara region of Ethiopia on Friday to request the list of Tigrayan staff.

The Ethiopian government, which is fighting rebellious leaders of Tigray region, said the police were pursuing suspects linked to Tigrayan authorities, not Tigrayans, and cautioned against any ‘misrepresentation’ of the visit to WFP.

The UN report said that the local police chief informed the WFP office of ‘the order of identifying ethnic Tigrayans from all government agencies and NGOs’.

The Ethiopian police attended the UN World Programme office in Amhara, Ethiopia, today demanding a list of the ethinic minority Tigrayan staff. Pictured: Members of Amhara region militia ride to face the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), in Sanja, Amhara

A UN security report revealed that the local police chief told the WFP office of ‘the order of identifying ethnic Tigrayans from all government agencies and NGOs’. Pictured: Some militiamen on their way to fight alongside federal troops

The report stated the United Nations told the police they do not identify staff by ethnicity and there was no immediate comment from the Amhara regional police.

Ethiopia launched a military offensive in Tigray last week and hundreds of people have been killed in the ensuing fighting.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accuses the leaders of the northern region – the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) – of treason. 

Concerns are growing that the campaign against them could led to ethnic profiling of Tigrayans throughout the country.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, accused the leaders of the northern region – the Tigray People’s Liberation Front’ of treason. Pictured: Abiy Ahmen recieiving his Nobel Peace Prize

Amnesty International said yesterday that scores of civilians were killed in a ‘massacre’ in Ethiopia’s Tigray region that witnesses blamed on forces backing the local ruling party.

The ‘massacre’ is the first reported incident of large-scale civilian fatalities in a week-old conflict between the regional ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), and the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

‘Amnesty International can today confirm… that scores, and likely hundreds, of people were stabbed or hacked to death in Mai-Kadra (May Cadera) town in the South West Zone of Ethiopia’s Tigray Region on the night of 9 November,’ the rights group said in a report.

Ethiopia launched a military offensive in Tigray last week and hundreds of people have been killed in the ensuing fighting. Pictured: Amhara militiamen deployed to the Tigray border to fight alongside federal forces after unrest broke out this week

The reports of the police visit to the WFP office in Amhara were a ‘complete misrepresentation of the event’, the government’s emergency taskforce said in a statement, adding that it was pursuing suspects linked to Tigray’s leaders, not Tigrayans.

The suspects were ’embedded’ and ‘active’ within various local and international organisations, the taskforce said.

The news comes as the African Union today announced it had dismissed its security head, an Ethiopian national, after Abiy’s government accused him of disloyalty. 

Scores and probably hundreds of people were stabbed or hacked to death in an area of Ethiopia’s Tigray region on Monday, rights group Amnesty International said on Thursday. Above, Ethiopians pictured at a refugee camp in the Hamdait border area of Sudan’s eastern Kassala state on November 12

An analyst said the dismissal was part of the Abiy government’s efforts to sideline prominent Tigrayans.

Local forces and militias from Amhara, which has boundary disputes with Tigray, are backing the federal troops’ campaign, further increasing ethnic friction.  

Witnesses said Monday’s attack was carried out by TPLF-aligned forces after a defeat at the hands of the Ethiopian military, though Amnesty said it ‘has not been able to confirm who was responsible for the killings’.

Amensty nonetheless called on TPLF commanders and officials to ‘make clear to their forces and their supporters that deliberate attacks on civilians are absolutely prohibited and constitute war crimes’.

Ethiopians in Washington, US, attended a protest  (pictured) at their government’s military actions in Tigray

Abiy ordered military operations in Tigray on November 4, saying they were prompted by a TPLF attack on federal military camps – a claim the party denies.

The region has been under a communications blackout ever since, making it difficult to verify competing claims on the ground.

Abiy said Thursday his army had made major gains in western Tigray.

Thousands of Ethiopians have fled across the border into neighbouring Sudan, and the UN is sounding the alarm about a humanitarian crisis in Tigray. 

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