Amid threats sent by the Ethiopian army to Tigrayan civilians, the United Nations has said the Ethiopian government has the responsibility of protecting the civilians of the opposing region.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed on Sunday gave a 72-hour ultimatum to Tigray forces to surrender, else, the region will be attacked.
The UN has quickly reacted to the threat, as it called for the full protection of the women, children, civilians and aid workers of Tigray amid a heavy emigration to Sudan.
As it stands, at least 33,000 Tigray residents have moved to Sudan and the UN projects it may rise to 200,000 should the current conflict last up to 6 months.
The UN is also worried that Sudan already has too many refugees from other African countries, with its current count of refugees numbering up to 1 million.
The refugees are also living in bad conditions, in what’s a major concern to the UN.
Ethiopian Army said it will “encircle” and attack Mekelle if the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces fail to surrender.
Catherine Sozi, the UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Ethiopia, told news agency Reuters, that local authorities must ensure the safety of civilians and aid workers in the region.
Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth also said that “Ethiopia has a duty to spare from harm even those who stay in Mekelle, not just threaten that ‘there will be no mercy’.”
The Ethiopian government has accused the TPLF forces of destroying state properties including a foremost airport.
On Friday, a rocket attack was launched in Amhara, a border town of Tigray with nobody hit in the attack.
The Ethiopian Army has told residents in Mekelle to “save themselves” before they are struck.
“We don’t negotiate with criminals… We bring them to justice, not to the negotiating table,” Mamo Mihretu, an aide to Mr Abiy, told the BBC.
“Our African brothers and sisters would play a more significant role if they put pressure on TPLF to surrender and for that, you know, nobody needs to go to Tigray or Mekelle to make that point clear to them.”
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