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Ethiopia declares Humanitarian Ceasefire, beseeches rebels in Tigray to reciprocate

Tigrayan refugees in Sudan [Picture: UNHCR]

ADDIS ABABA, MARCH 24, 2022 — In a statement released today, Ethiopian government declared a humanitarian ceasefire and called on rebels in Tigray to take heed and withdraw from neighboring regions which they have occupied.

The federal government said the decision is taken to ensure the free flow of emergency humanitarian aid to all those in need of assistance. 

But in order for this to be successful, the government said the insurgents in Tigray must desist from all acts of further aggression and must withdraw from areas they have occupied in neighboring regions.

The Ethiopian government appeared to have gone soft with the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) by referring to them as insurgents although they still remain a terrorist group as declared by the Ethiopian parliament in May last year. 

Moreover, their acts of aggression against neighboring Afar was defended only through drone strikes and the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) have not been order to defend and reclaim the northern part of Afar region. The fight was left to ill equipped Afar militias. Hence, the ceasefire, for the federal government, was already in place albeit subtle.

Nevertheless, the federal government says the measure is taken to expedite the provision of humanitarian aid to people in need in the Tigray region. 

To this end, says the statement from the Government Communication Service, the Ethiopian government has "increased the number of United Nations humanitarian flights and expedited through improved clearance procedures the delivery of fuel and cash for payments by aid organizations. Flights for ICRC, WHO and the European Union have been facilitated to deliver humanitarian aid. The Government has also been working to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance through the Abala-Mekelle route." 

One of the reasons the plight of Tigrayans has become worrisome for the Ethiopian government is that currently thousands from the Tigray region are fleeing into neighboring regions in search of assistance.

Despite the hospitality shown to Tigrayans fleeing the tyranny of TPLF, the federal government remains wary and recommends that the displaced receive aid in their localities. 

"Alleviating the plight of those affected by the conflict is of the utmost priority and a responsibility that the Government takes seriously. The Government of Ethiopia is committed to exert maximum effort to facilitate the free flow of emergency humanitarian aid into the Tigray region" reads the statement from the Ethiopian government.

However, the Ethiopian government believes the humanitarian situation will not bring forth the desired outcome without the TPLF equally reciprocating the humanitarian ceasefire and allowing Tigrayans to receive aid within Tigray instead of pushing them to leave their home.

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