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Tigray in Need of More Aid – UN

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Weeks after a bit of normalcy was restored to Northern Ethiopia region of Tigray, the U.N has said that fighting is still ongoing in several parts of the region with locals in need of aids.

In a report released on Thursday, the UN said at least 2.3m Ethiopians need aids as they’ve been victims of war and looting.

It also said not only were properties destroyed and people displaced, looting of hospitals and health centres were apparent while schools were also looted.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said although electricity and communication have been restored, the 90,000 displaced people are still in need.

“Infrastructure needs to urgently be restored as many buildings, including schools, hospitals and administration offices, have been looted and damaged. Health facilities outside of major cities are non-functional and those in the major cities are partially working, with limited to no stock of supplies and absence of health workers, ” it said.

“Since the conflict erupted, only 77,000 people, mostly in Mekelle and its surroundings, and 25,000 refugees in two camps (Mai Ayni and Adi Harush) received food support from the UN and partners. Access to most parts of north-western, eastern and central Tigray remains constrained due to the ongoing insecurity and bureaucratic hurdles. Two of the four refugee camps in the region (Hitsats and Shimelba) are still not accessible.

“The interruption of COVID-19 surveillance and control activities in the region, coupled with mass displacements and overcrowded conditions in displacement setting, is feared to have facilitated massive community transmission. Limited prevention activities have started, including the distribution of 1200 COVID-19 prevention and hygiene promotion leaflets and personal protective materials, provision of health education and organization of a sanitation campaign in displacement sites in Shire. Additional COVID-19 specific responses are planned by partners.

“We continue to engage with the Government for the unrestricted and safe passage of humanitarian personnel and supplies to all parts of Tigray region.”

A bitter conflict between Tigrayan and Ethiopian forces led to attacks and reprisals which led to the displacement of many Tigrayans to Eritrea and Sudan.

Leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, Debretsion Gebremichael and others are yet to be found with the Ethiopian government placing bounties on them.

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Somali Government Intercept Smuggled Weapons, Ammunitions

The ministry did not, however, identify the entities and quantity of ammunition intercepted nor did he provide any proof to back up the report either.

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The Somali government has commenced investigations into the source and origin of certain sophisticated weapons and ammunition which it intercepted while they were being smuggled into the country.

The country’s minister of information said there had been an attempt by Somali and foreign entities, to illegally import high caliber weapons and ammunition into the country without government knowledge and permission.

In a statement issued in the capita Mogadishu, the minister said “the federal government of Somali has a robust system in the supply chain of weapons and ammunition from the point of procurement to post distribution, and it is these existing frameworks that have enabled the government to respond timely and block the deliveries.”

The ministry did not, however, identify the entities and quantity of ammunition intercepted nor did he provide any proof to back up the report either.

The ministry said the Somali government takes very seriously, violations of territorial sovereignty and integrity as well as any actions that can have potential destabilizing effects.

“The government is investigating the origin and motives of the weapons and ammunition it has blocked intended for Somalia,” the report said.

Shortly after Somali plunged into civil war 25 years ago, The United Nations imposed a blanket arms embargo on the nation.

The statement followed hours of fighting in the southern town of Beled Hawo between the security forces of Jubaland and and government forces as the two sides battled to take control of the strategic town which is a key entry of the Gedo region.

The Somali government did however say its forces managed to repel the militia group, and managed to recover illegally imported arms and ammunition, also flushing out Jubaland security forces.

Bothe sides have reportedly suffered casualties, even though the local authorities have not established the number involved.

This is not the first time that The Somali government and Jubaland forces will battle over that land. In March 2020, both forces were engaged in a similar battle to take control of the town.

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Ethiopian Forces Detain Minors in Crackdown On TPLF Rebels

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An Ethiopian human rights commission group has found minors in the custody of Ethiopian forces in Western Gambella.

The minors, some found to be as young as 11 were arrested alongside members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The Tigrayans have been held since November, and the state still has not started investigations into their culpability.

“The Commission was alarmed to find two boys aged 11 and 12 and a girl aged 14 detained since mid-December 2020 on suspicion of being members of OLF Shane,” it said, following the arrest of Tigrayans and a breakaway group from the Oromo Liberation Front.

There is renewed tension in the country as the parliamentary elections, through which a Prime Minister is chosen, draws closer.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Prosperity Party faces pressure from the country in the face of the Tigrayan crisis.

Read: More Ethiopian Refugees Flee Into Sudan’s Blue Nile State

Ethiopia runs a federal system of government with at least 10 regions having their parties including the TPLF, run by Tigrayans and the Oromo Liberation Front for the people of Oromo.

Abiy benefited from a coalition of various parties in 2018 when they kicked out the TPLF which had ruled for 27 years.

Opposition parties have revealed harassment of their members by the national government, with human rights activists asking for a look into Ethiopia’s current situation.

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Somalia Intercepts Smuggled Weapons and Ammunition Days Before Elections

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Somalia’s Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunication says investigators have begun investigations into origin of the sophisticated weapons and ammunition which it intercepted while being smuggled into the country.

The Ministry said the Somali and foreign entities had attempted to illegally import high calibre weapons and ammunition into the country without the knowledge and permission of the government.

“The federal government of Somali has a robust system in the supply chain of weapons and ammunition from point of procurement to post distribution.

“It is these existing frameworks in place that has enabled the government to respond timely and block the deliveries,’’ the ministry said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

However, the ministry did not identify the entities and the quantity of weapons that were intercepted or provide proof to back up the report either.

The ministry said the government takes violations of territorial sovereignty and integrity as well as any actions that can have potential destabilising effects very seriously.

“The government is investigating the origin and motives of the weapons and ammunition it has blocked intended for Somalia,’’ it said.

The United Nations imposed a blanket arms embargo on Somalia shortly after the nation plunged into civil war 25 years ago.

The statement came hours after fighting erupted in the southern town of Beled Hawo between Jubaland security forces and government forces as both sides sought to wrestle control of the strategic town which is a key entry of the Gedo region.

However, the government said its forces managed to repulse the group of militia and managed to recover illegally imported deadly weapons after also flushing out Jubaland security forces.

There are casualties on both sides even though the local authorities have not established the number involved.

The Somali government and Jubaland forces previously fought over the control of the town in March 2020.

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