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More Than 50,000 Displaced By Clashes In Northern Ethiopia: UN

Amhara forces occupied Raya Alamata in southern Tigray during a two-year war between Ethiopia's government and regional Tigrayan authorities.


Civilians displaced by fighting in northern Ethiopia wash clothes at the Addis Fana School where they are temporary sheltered, in the city of Dessie, Ethiopia, on August 23, 2021. – Long confined to Tigray, the conflict in Ethiopia has recently spread to two neighbouring regions, Afar and Amhara, with heavy weapons fire killing an untold number of civilians and displacing hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP)

 

More than 50,000 people have been displaced by clashes in a disputed area in northern Ethiopia, the United Nations said, as the international community expressed concern about the violence involving fighters from rival regions.

“The number of people displaced by the armed clashes in Alamata Town, and Raya Alamata, Zata and Ofla… since 13/14 April has reached more than 50,000,” the UN said late Monday, citing local authorities in the disputed area, which is claimed by Tigray and neighbouring Amhara.

“The humanitarian situation is dire, with thousands of women and children in need of broad humanitarian support to survive,” it added.

Amhara forces occupied Raya Alamata in southern Tigray during a two-year war between Ethiopia’s government and regional Tigrayan authorities.

Under a peace deal between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and Tigrayan authorities, Amhara forces — which backed federal troops during the conflict — were due to withdraw from Raya Alamata after the agreement was signed in Pretoria in November 2022.

Neither the federal government nor Tigrayan authorities responded to AFP requests for information. It is impossible to verify the situation on the ground independently as media access to northern Ethiopia is heavily restricted.

Reports of the fighting have sparked alarm among the international community, with the embassies of several nations including the United States, Japan, Britain and France on Saturday calling for dialogue and urging the “de-escalation and protection of civilians”.

During the war, Amhara forces occupied and remained in control of western Tigray, a disputed region that is claimed by both regions.

Amhara, Ethiopia’s second most populous region, has been wracked by clashes since April 2023, when the federal government’s decision to dismantle regional forces across the country triggered clashes.

Amhara nationalists, who already felt betrayed by the Tigray peace deal, said the move would weaken their region.

 

AFP