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Ethiopia expels seven senior UN officials

Ethiopia expels seven senior UN officials

A tank damaged during the fighting between Ethiopia's National Defense Force (ENDF) and Tigray Special Forces stands on the outskirts of Humera town in Ethiopia July 1, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia is expelling seven senior United Nations officials, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday (Sep 30), two days after a senior UN official said hundreds of thousands of people in the northern region of Tigray were likely experiencing famine.

The seven, who include the head of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) have 72 hours to leave, the ministry said in a statement, accusing them of "meddling" in internal affairs.

Conflict in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region has been raging between federal forces and those aligned with the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) since November.

On Tuesday, United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths said a nearly three-month long "de-facto blockade" has restricted aid deliveries to 10 per cent of what is needed in the war-torn region.

In turn, Ethiopian authorities have accused unnamed aid workers in the country of favouring and even arming Tigrayan forces, although they have provided no evidence to support their accusations.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Catherine Sozi, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Ethiopia, UNICEF and OCHA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Source: Reuters/ec

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