AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Uncertain situation in Tigray, concern for the fate of 100,000 Eritrean refugees

Monday, 30 November 2020 refugees   wars  

Addis Ababa (Agenzia Fides) - "I launch a strong appeal to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia so that the situation of 100,000 Eritrean refugees is urgently addressed", said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, expressing the concern of the international community for the fate of almost 100,000 Eritrean refugees present in the Ethiopian region of Tigray, where according to the Addis Ababa government, the military offensive against the rebel forces of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), launched on November 26, concluded with success (see Fides, 26/11/2020)
According to unconfirmed reports, several refugees have been kidnapped. If confirmed, such treatment of refugees in camps near Tigray's border with Eritrea "would be a serious violation of international norms" warned Grandi.
The TPLF accuses the Eritrean government of providing military aid to the Addis Ababa government. According to some reports, on Sunday 29 November at least six explosions were heard in the Eritrean capital Asmara, possibly caused by rockets fired by rebels from the neighboring Tigray.
Meanwhile, while it is still unknown whether the capital of Tigray Mekele is in the hands of the regular army, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that a major hospital in northern Ethiopia, Ayder Referral Hospital, reports a strong influx of injured "which forced the hospital to suspend several other medical services so that limited staff and resources could be dedicated to emergency medical care". Hospitals and health centers in the Tigray region are "dangerously short" of supplies for the care of the wounded.
There is limited food is supply, as the region has been cut off from external aid for nearly a month. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 30/11/2020)