Ethiopian government says rebel forces remain in control of parts of Afar region

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Cows walk past a tank damaged in fighting between Ethiopian government and Tigray forces, near the town of Humera, Ethiopia, March 3, 2021. Picture taken March 3, 2021. To match Special Report ETHIOPIA-CONFLICT/EXPULSIONS REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Cows walk past a tank damaged in fighting between Ethiopian government and Tigray forces, near the town of Humera, Ethiopia, March 3, 2021. Picture taken March 3, 2021. To match Special Report ETHIOPIA-CONFLICT/EXPULSIONS REUTERS/Baz Ratner

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a rebel group in Northern Ethiopia, remains in control of some parts of Ethiopia’s Afar region, Dina Mufti, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, said on Friday.

Mufti indicated that rebel forces’ presence has affected humanitarian aid to the Tigray region.’

“TPLF forces had withdrawn from three towns in Afar region, but were still in three of the region’s districts,” said Mufti, rejecting reports that rebel forces have fully withdrawn from the Afar region.

The conflict in northern Ethiopia broke out in Tigray between the TPLF and federal government in November 2020 and spilled over into neighboring regions.
The TPLF expanded into Afar last year.

“The truth is that the TPLF forces have only withdrawn from a few areas of Eribti, Berehale, and Abala towns while maintaining control of the surrounding areas of Abala affecting the aid corridor. It is still in control of other districts of Afar and the Amhara regions,” Mufti said in a weekly briefing.

The spokesperson also dismissed allegations by TPLF and its “sympathizers” that the government of Ethiopia has limited the amount of aid supplies to the Tigray region.

Mufti said the Ethiopian government has declared an indefinite humanitarian truce since March 24 to allow unfettered access to humanitarian supplies to the people in the Tigray region.

“Following the truce, the government has shown its commitment to peace by allowing continuous daily humanitarian flights and working with humanitarian operators to get access to the region via road transport,” the spokesperson said.

Mufti said 146 aid convoys including nine fuel tankers were supplied to the Tigray region since the declaration of the truce.

The provision of aid is only depending on the capacity of the international partners to provide the required amount of resources and secure safe passage, Mufti said.

“The recent propaganda of the TPLF clique on the shortage of medicine in the hospitals of the Tigray region is a deliberate spin to create the illusion of scarcity while diverting the continuous supply of medicine, medical equipment and nutritious minerals through unhindered daily air flights, to private businesses and pharmacies,” Mufti said. Enditem

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