Ethiopia accuses aid agencies of delivering banned equipment to Tigray
Ethiopia has demanded stronger restrictions on assistance supplies to the country's war-torn Tigray area.
Ethiopia has demanded stronger restrictions on assistance supplies to the country's war-torn Tigray area, accusing relief organizations of shipping forbidden weaponry that may be used by rebels, as well as more gasoline than is already permitted.
Following a three-month pause, the government authorized the delivery of vitally needed relief by land to Tigray, which has long been subject to what the UN has described as a de facto embargo.
Referring to the Tigray's ruling party, Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), the Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen stated that "special attention should be given to prevent equipment from being transferred to the TPLF."
He stated that he "noticed there are efforts to transport more fuel than allowed and some banned equipment that can be used to carry out the terror group's aims."
Demeke, speaking on a visit to the northern Afar area from where assistance convoys sail for neighboring Tigray, did not disclose the type of equipment involved.
"Efforts by the customs commission and other entities to ensure control and surveillance of banned equipment should be boosted," he added.
According to the UN's humanitarian organization OCHA, while gasoline for humanitarian operations has been permitted into Tigray during the previous two months, the volume is insufficient and reserves are low.
According to its latest update published on Friday, "Nutrition partners, for instance, need about 24,000 liters of fuel to dispatch available nutrition supplies, including lifesaving therapeutic milk and ready to use therapeutic and supplementary foods, to about 240 health facilities across the region."
The conflict broke out in early November 2020, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent soldiers into Tigray, bringing a long-simmering dispute with the TPLF to a climax.
He claimed that the decision was made in response to TPLF raids on federal army facilities. In March, the government proclaimed "an indefinite humanitarian truce effective immediately," allowing for the first time since mid-December for multiple convoys of humanitarian supplies to reach the area.