The US aid agency said on Tuesday that rebels in Ethiopia’s war-torn Tigray region have been looting aid warehouses, calling the alleged thefts a “great concern for humanitarians.”
Last November, Ethiopian troops and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls the region, went to war in the mountainous region. Thousands of people have died due to the conflict, which has also resulted in a humanitarian crisis.
“We know for a fact… that the TPLF, every town they’ve gone into they looted the warehouses, they’ve looted trucks, they’ve caused a great deal of destruction in all the villages they visited, and it’s a great concern for humanitarians,” Sean Jones, head of the USAID mission in Ethiopia said.
“I do believe that TPLF has been very opportunistic. Maybe they are stealing from citizens. We don’t have proof of this,” Jones added.
He also said that what they do have proof of is that several of their warehouses have been looted and completely emptied in the areas, particularly Amhara.
TPLF and PM Abiy Ahmed’s offices did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“Any interference or theft of humanitarian aid is unacceptable and prevents critical assistance from reaching people in need. Unfortunately, since the beginning of the conflict in northern Ethiopia, we’ve seen instances of looting from all parties,” a USAID spokesperson said.
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