TPLF must stop using the humanitarian card to mislead the International community

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The government of Ethiopia has continued its commitment to work closely with humanitarian operators by coordinating and facilitating the movement of humanitarian aid to the Tigray region. Since the declaration of the unilateral humanitarian ceasefire, several hundreds of trucks loaded with food and non-food item including improved seeds, fertilizers, and fuel have continued to reach the Tigray region. Over the weekend, WFP has confirmed that over 100  trucks have arrived at Mekelle carrying 3,500 MT of food and other lifesaving humanitarian cargo. To further ease humanitarian aid, the Federal Government significantly reduced the number of checkpoints for humanitarian convoys. It also increased the amount of cash humanitarian organizations can possess while operating in the region. The federal government has taken these measures despite the grave obstacles posed by the destructive acts of the TPLF.

It should be recalled that the TPLF has deliberately invaded the adjacent Amhara and Afar regions compounding the humanitarian problem and affecting the security of the humanitarian corridor into Tigray. This callous act by the TPLF has displaced over 500,000 people and disrupted the lives of about 4.5 million people in those regions. The TPLF killed many civilians and decimated villages in the two Regions. This has clearly demonstrated that the TPLF is bent on creating havoc contrary to the spirit of the unilateral humanitarian ceasefire declared by the Federal Government. It should be underlined here that one of the objectives of the humanitarian ceasefire was to allow farmers in Tigray to make use of the farming season.

As has been reported in the International media outlets, the group has completely destroyed the small rural farming community of Agamsa in Qobo, Amhara region, and also killed many innocent civilians in Gondar, Wollo, and Wag Hemra. In the same vein, in the Afar region, deliberately targeting civilians, the TPLF killed over 200 people, including more than 100 children, in attacks on displaced families sheltering at a health facility and a school.TPLF has also targeted the livelihoods of communities in the Afar and Amhara regions by deliberately shooting livestock, looting financial centers, health facilities, banks, and religious institutions besides disrupting telecommunication and electric power services.

The group did not spare educational centers. The Ministry of Education of Ethiopia recently announced that the futile was of the TPLF damaged more than 7,000 schools in Afar, Amhara, and Tigray regions forcing more than 1.42 million students to drop out of school for a considerable time to come.

What the invading force has been doing in the neighboring regions is by no means in the interest of the people of Tigray. It has killed and threatened the lives of aid workers in the areas that it invaded. It also takes revenge actions on the civilian community to retaliate the swift and humiliating defeat it sustained in the hands of the ENDF in Tigray. As indicated by USAID Ethiopia, the TPLF has emptied USAID warehouses and looted food and non-food items reducing the chances of affected people getting timely aid. Nonetheless, the TPLF has proven its disregard to the interest of the people of Tigray as high-energy biscuits of USAID were found in the pockets of its captured soldiers which should have been distributed to affected people in Tigray back in February 2021. They were storing the biscuits for rations for their soldiers by snatching them from those in need.

The TPLF has tried to expand the conflict by entering the Benishangul Gumuz and Amhara regions crossing the long Sudanese border. All of its attempts in these areas have proven futile nut new evidence has come to the surface. Some TPLF soldiers infiltrating from the Sudanese side, have already been captured carrying UNHCR ID cards. It is a clear violation of international law and UN Conventions governing the handling of refugees. This is happening while the international community has yet to condemn the TPLF’s use of child soldiers as young as 11 years old.

With all its destructive acts, the group unashamedly points its fingers at the Government of Ethiopia for blocking aid to the Tigray region. The first logical step should have been to refrain from creating insecurity in the neighboring regions where the aid routes are heading into Tigray. Despite the havoc created against these communities, the Federal Government has never faltered in its commitment to open for humanitarian aid delivery to the Tigray region.

The international community should take note of the group’s refusal to return several trucks that entered Tigray carrying aid to affected people. Given the irresponsible behavior of the TPLF and its disregard for the lives of the people of Tigray, it is logical to suspect that the unreturned trucks are being used to transport its invading soldiers. 

The International community should understand that this criminal group is trying to remain legitimate in Tigray while advancing an expansionist policy into neighboring regions. people who are pressing the Federal Government to give unhindered access to humanitarian aid ironically are soft on the TPLF’s invasions of neighboring regions, disrupting the aid corridor in the process. The International community should note that the invasion of the TPLF in the neighboring regions not only obstruct aid from reaching Tigray but create new aid recipients who are robbed of their livelihood and their precious time which could have been sp[ent on farming.

Although the Federal Government is committed to peace, the group has shown no intention to stop hostilities. The TPLF has rather recently announced its alliance with the Shene terrorist group and other so-called disgruntled groups with the objective of destabilizing the whole country. The only challenge it has encountered in fulfilling its evil desire is the unity of Ethiopians and their unequivocal support to the Federal Government.

The Federal Government of Ethiopia calls on the international community to put pressure on the TPLF to stop the aggression, killing of innocent civilians, and looting properties. pointing fingers at the Federal Government while refusing to condemn the crimes of the invading terrorist group would not be helpful for sustainable peace. The group should not be allowed to play its remaining cars in a cynical way. By trying to profit from the misery of innocent people affected by the humanitarian situation.