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Food aid arrives at Ethiopian refugee camps in Tigray: UN

By
Jean Lotus
Food aid was delivered to Eritrean refugees in camps in Ethiopia's troubled northern region of Tigray, the United Nations said Monday. Photo by Zerihun Sewunet/UNICEF
Food aid was delivered to Eritrean refugees in camps in Ethiopia's troubled northern region of Tigray, the United Nations said Monday. Photo by Zerihun Sewunet/UNICEF

Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Some transportation lines in northern Ethiopia's troubled Tigray region have partially reopened, and about 25,000 Eritrean refugees sheltering in two camps have received food aid for the first time since mid-October, the United Nations announced Monday.

A convoy of 18 trucks delivered nearly 500 metric tons of corn soya blend, grains, pulses and vegetable oil for distribution to Eritrean refugees in the Mai Ayni and Adi Harush refugee camps by the UN World Food Program and other humanitarian groups, the agency said.

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"Families, women, men, children -- even newborns -- have been cut off from supplies and essential services for many weeks, so this distribution was urgently needed," Ann Encontre, Ethiopian spokeswoman for the United Nations Refugee Agency, said in a statement.

The Tigray region was attacked in November by federal Ethiopian forces under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in an attempt to oust the leaders of the Tigray People's Liberation Front.

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The military conflict caused a mass migration of more than 54,500 refugee civilians across the border to Sudan, and caused general lawlessness, including the deaths of civilians, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday.

"We have received allegations concerning violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, including artillery strikes on populated areas, the deliberate targeting of civilians, extrajudicial killings and widespread looting," Bachelet said.

Abiy Ahmed said in a statement published Thursday that the operations were finished and that the government's next steps were to rehabilitate residents of the region "back to normal life at the earliest opportunity." He also said the Ethiopian government would be planning for "fair, free and inclusive" elections scheduled for June, 2021.

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