Forces from Ethiopia’s Tigray region looted warehouses, in recent weeks, belonging to a US humanitarian agency in the Amhara region – said USAID’s mission director, Sean Jones, in Ethiopia on Tuesday.
“Rebels in the war-torn Tigray region have been looting aid warehouses, and the alleged thefts are a huge concern for humanitarians.”
Jones said, “We know the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front), we know every town they’ve gone into and all warehouses and trucks that they’ve looted. They’ve caused great destruction in all the villages that they’ve visited”.
“I believe that the TPLF has been very opportunistic. They could be stealing from citizens as well, but we don’t have proof of this,” he added.
“However, we do have proofs of all warehouses that they’ve looted and emptied in the areas, specifically Amhara, the TPLF soldiers have gone into,” he said.
The TPLF did not comment on the accusation immediately.
Northern Ethiopia has been home to violence since November when PM Abiy Ahmed sent troops into Tigray to overthrow the TPLF – a regional ruling party – announcing that the move came forth in response to attacks on army camps.
Even though the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner guaranteed a swift victory, the war drew on for months, bringing a humanitarian crisis to Tigray. The rebels have pushed into the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions.
Jones said USAID contributed with food support to more than five million people in the north, “inside of Tigray and in Amhara and Afar“.
Abiy dismissed early appeals from envoys from the AU for a dialogue with Tigrayan leaders, clinging to his point that the conflict was a confined “law and order” operation. The bloc, on Thursday, announced the appointment of former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as a representative for the Horn of Africa – saying that it was part of a “bid to promote security, peace, stability & political dialogue“.