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Humanitarian flights resume to Ethiopia's Tigray region: UN

By AFP
Ethiopia Humanitarian aid needs have risen in Ethiopia amid a year-long battle between government troops and rebel forces of the Tigray People's Liberation Front.  By Amanuel SILESHI (AFP)
DEC 1, 2021 LISTEN
Humanitarian aid needs have risen in Ethiopia amid a year-long battle between government troops and rebel forces of the Tigray People's Liberation Front. By Amanuel SILESHI (AFP)

UN humanitarian flights and convoys between conflict-hit Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa and Mekele in the Tigray region have resumed, the global body's Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday.

"Good news: 157 trucks arrived in Mekele," Guterres told a news conference.

"A new convoy is moving, so the humanitarian aid is effectively restarted, probably not as much as we would like. But that is a good signal and the UN flights between Mekele and Addis have been re-established."

He said the resumption of aid delivery to Tigray's capital city indicated "a small hint of hope" that "might facilitate a future more positive attitude for dialogue."

At Guterres's side, African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat stressed the need for a cease-fire.

"Unfortunately, the fighting on the ground continues," he said.

Guterres urged the warring sides to "put an end to the fight" and "start talking."

The conflict broke out in November 2020 when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into the northernmost Tigray region to topple the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) -- a move he said came in response to rebel attacks on army camps.

The rebels mounted a comeback, recapturing most of Tigray by June before expanding into the neighbouring regions of Amhara and Afar.

The conflict took a sharp turn around a month ago, when the TPLF claimed to have captured strategic towns on a key highway to the capital.

In nearly 13 months, the fighting has killed thousands, displaced more than two million and driven hundreds of thousands into famine-like conditions, according to United Nations estimates.

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