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Security situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray region "remains volatile": UNOCHA

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Ethiopian troops in Tigray (AFP photo)

January 9, 2020 (ADDIS ABABA) - The security situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray regional state "remains volatile," the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said in a report.

The report, issued on Thursday, stated that the security situation in Tigray remains volatile “with a gradual improvement in some areas in the Eastern and Western Zones, although insecurity and bureaucratic constraints remain”.

"As the security situation in some areas of Tigray region is slightly improving, humanitarian workers have been able to access areas that were so far inaccessible, particularly in cities," it noted in part.

According to UNOCHA, "localized fighting and insecurity continue, with fighting reported in rural areas and in the peripheries of Mekelle, Shiraro and Shire, among other locations, as of last week”.

The report further noted that access to most parts of North Western, Eastern and Central Tigray remains constrained due to the ongoing insecurity and bureaucratic hurdles, while Hitsats and Shimelba refugee camps were still not accessible.

The latest situation update came after the two joint assessment missions that were deployed on December 20, 2020 were completed.

"Both missions have witnessed a dire humanitarian situation with poor access to services and limited livelihoods," the report stressed.

The UNOCHA also revealed that it continues "to closely work with Government counterparts to streamline the cargo/assessment clearance mechanism, and enable a quicker clearance process."

TPLF LEADER ARRESTED

Meanwhile, Ethiopia on Friday arrested the most senior living member of the outlawed Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) quoted Brig. Gen. Tesfaye Ayalew as saying that Sebhat Nega, a founding member of the TPLF, had surrendered during an operation in which six other key TPLF operatives were also arrested.

Weeks of fighting in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region between the TPLF, which used to rule the region and the Ethiopian Defense Forces have reportedly left hundreds of people dead, thousands displaced and millions in need of humanitarian assistance.

According to the UN humanitarian agency, more than 55,500 refugees have fled Tigray into eastern Sudan in the past six weeks.

(ST)

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