UNICEF: 200 dead, half of them children, in Ethiopia

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On Monday, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) expressed “grave concern over reports that more than 200 people have been killed.”

Among them, more than 100 children were in Ethiopia last Thursday (August 5).

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“The intensification of fighting in Afar and the neighboring regions of Tigray (northern Ethiopia) is disastrous for children,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore warned in a statement.

She called on “all parties to do everything in their power to protect children from harm, end the fighting and implement an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.”

The statement indicated that the dead were killed while carrying out attacks on displaced families who took refuge in a health facility and a school in Afar last Thursday.

The organization estimated “a ten-fold increase in the number of children who will suffer from life-threatening malnutrition in Tigray over the next 12 months”.

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It reported that since the outbreak of armed conflict throughout Tigray, about 400,000 people, including at least 160,000 children, have been suffering from famine-like conditions.

Four million people are experiencing a crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity in Tigray, and adjacent areas of Afar and Amhara.

On November 4, 2020, clashes erupted in Tigray between the Ethiopian army and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (the former local ruling party).

This is after government forces entered the region in response to what it said was an attack on an army base.

On the 28th of the same month, Addis Ababa announced the end of a “law enforcement” operation by seizing Mekele, the capital of Tigray.

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But last July, the LTTE managed to recapture Mekele, forcing Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to declare a unilateral ceasefire and withdraw most of his forces from the region.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front says it has no intention of extending its territorial gains beyond Tigray.

Rather, it only seeks to “weak” the soldiers and militia elements deployed in areas in the north.