The Ethiopian government on Friday accused the rebel “Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TRPLF) of preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid to the restive region in the north of the country, which has been witnessing an armed conflict for more than a year.
In a statement, the Ethiopian government indicated that more than 1,010 trucks designated for transporting aid to Tigrayan residents are still stuck in the territory under the control of the country’s designated “Terrorist Front”.
The statement added that the rebels claim that the drivers, many of whom belong to the Tigray ethnicity, refuse to leave the territory for security reasons.
In order to recover the trucks, the government stated that it had decided to grant each driver a full amnesty and suggested the creation of a buffer zone that might be managed by UN agencies where the drivers who did not wish to leave Tigray would be replaced.
The Ethiopian government pointed out that it had also issued temporary UN plates to trucks acquired by the World Health Organization (WHO) from Sudan, and decided to conduct additional flights to intensify the transport of food and medical aid by land to the region.
The government blamed the TPLF for behavior that narrowed opportunities to open additional humanitarian corridors to Tigray, denying rebel allegations of a fuel crisis in the province.
However, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (a Tigrayan citizen), accused the Ethiopian government last Wednesday of imposing restrictions on the delivery of aid to the region, describing this as an “insult to humanity.”
UN agencies and international human rights organizations have previously recorded the commission of war crimes by all parties to the conflict that erupted in Tigray in November 2020.