Breaking News: Tigray declares cessation of hostilities, vows peace
Source: Globe News Net
The government of Tigray has declared truce, effective immediately, to allow humanitarian aid.
The statement by the government of Tigray on Thursday said that the Government of Tigray is committed to implementing a cessation of hostilities effective immediately “if the right circumstances arise for our people to receive the level of humanitarian assistance commensurate with needs on the ground, and within a reasonable timeframe”
The statement said that peace, not war, has always been Tigray’s choice.
“Even at the moment, war is not our choice”, the statement said.
The statement criticized Ethiopian government for linking political and humanitarian issues.
“While our people should have received humanitarian assistance provided by the international community without any obstruction, virtually no aid has been allowed into Tigray on account of the blockade of Tigray” the statement said.
“The restoration of telecommunication and banking services, among other things, very simple steps for the government to undertake, would have saved countless lives”, the statement added.
The statement called upon Ethiopian authorities to ‘take concrete steps to facilitate humanitarian access.
“We call on the Ethiopian authorities to go beyond empty promises and take concrete steps to facilitate unfettered humanitarian access to Tigray”, the statement said,
The statement also declared firm commitment from Tigray for peace:
“The people and Government of Tigray will do their best to give peace a chance”, The statement by the Tigray government said.
Earlier on Thursday, the Ethiopia’s government declared“an indefinite humanitarian truce effective immediately”, saying it hoped to help hasten delivery of emergency aid into the Tigray region, where hundreds of thousands face starvation.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government “is committed to exert maximum effort to facilitate the free flow of emergency humanitarian aid into the Tigray region,” it said in a statement.
“To optimise the success of the humanitarian truce, the government calls upon the insurgents in Tigray to desist from all acts of further aggression and withdraw from areas they have occupied in neighbouring regions,” it said.
The UK, Canada, Djibouti, the USA has praised the Ethiopian government for the humanitarian truce.
“The UK welcomes the Government of Ethiopia’s decision to announce an indefinite humanitarian truce, and to ensure unimpeded access of aid into Tigray. We call on Tigrayan authorities to reciprocate,” the British embassy in Ethiopia said on Twitter.
Canada’s embassy to Ethiopia and Djibouti said on Twitter that the announcement was “welcome news, as aid is urgently needed in northern Ethiopia”.
Diplomats led by Olusegun Obasanjo, the African Union’s special envoy for the Horn of Africa, have been trying for months to broker peace talks, with little evident progress so far.
The war began in November 2020 when Ethiopia’s army, backed by Eritrean and Somalia national armies and troops from Ethiopian regional states, moved to oust a TPLF-led regional government in Tigray after a long-standing political hostilities between Abiy’s ruling party and the TPLF. The other dimension of the war was a genocidal campaign that has been brewing by elites from Amhara and Eritrean government. The trio combined their forces to unleash the November 2020 ‘war-of-annihilation’ on Tigrayans.
The more than 16-month-old war was marked by extreme brutality, including the use of rape and hunger as weapons of war, massacres and ethnic cleansing against Tigrayans. As a result, the conflict has left thousands dead and forced many others to flee their homes with hundreds of thousands driven to the brink of starvation, according to the United Nations.
Since June, Tigray has been put under a total humanitarian blockade by the Ethiopian government, with only less than 10 %of the needed essential aid allowed to enter the region and no aid reached the region since December 15, 2021. This has resulted in man-made famine to more than 900,000 people in the region and more than 5400 deaths as a result.
Nearly 40 percent of people in Tigray, a region of six million people, face “an extreme lack of food”, the UN said last month. The dire assessment published by the World Food Programme (WFP) came as humanitarian groups increasingly curtail activities because of fuel and supply shortages.
The UN rights office last week reported that at least 304 civilians had been killed in air strikes in the north, particularly Tigray, since November. The UH Rights office also said that it has received reports of “306 rape incidents by Tigrayan forces in the Amhara region” between November 1 and Dec. 5, 2021.
A recent study by Mekelle University and the Regional Health Bureau showed that 120,000 women in a conservative Tigray came forward to report rape by either Ethiopian, Eritrean, or Amhara. Researchers say that the figure was only a tip of the iceberg, considering the sexual conservativism in Tigray into account. Tigray regional health bureau announced today that 7.3 % of the women who have been raped have been contracted with various sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and 5 % have been infected with HIV.