In a statement, the Government of Ethiopia said: “The theft of fuel intended to transport much needed humanitarian assistance and farming input supplies to beneficiaries in the Tigray Region is not only a despicable act, by a criminal group that has been trading in the name of the people of Tigray, but a war crime and violation of International Humanitarian Law.”
“In addition to earlier reports from recent months, yesterday’s criminal act has been confirmed by international humanitarian partners — namely World Food Programme (WFP) and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). The looting of fuel and humanitarian aid is without a doubt being used to further the TPLF’s recent attack launched in communities around the town of Kobo,” the statement says.
Reports also confirm that the TPLF not only looted, but also imprisoned the staff members of humanitarian partners who resisted the footing, according to Government Communication Service.
It is to be recalled that the Federal Government of Ethiopia has taken great steps to facilitate unhindered flow of humanitarian assistance to our people in the Tigray Region since the conflict began, further enhancing this support through the enactment of the humanitarian truce.
Furthermore, in recent months, the confidence building measures taken by the Government to a peaceful resolution of the conflict, and expediting assistance to people in the region, have been rebuffed by the TPLF, Government stated.
“Most recently, the Director General of the World Health Organization, a known member and proponent of the TPLF, utilized the WHO’s platform in an unethical manner to claim that fuel shortage was hampering the delivery of humanitarian aid. However, the reality on the ground, as demonstrated in yesterday’s theft, clearly shows the global community the continued weaponizing of aid by the TPLF to further its political and military agenda.”
The Federal Government of Ethiopia has been warning the international community on multiple occasions and continuously that the TPLF has been looting fuel and humanitarian aid in Tigray since the beginning of the conflict in 2020. Independent corroborated research reports have further supported these claims. Tragically for the Ethiopian people, these calls and warnings have fallen on deaf ears and no action has been taken to address these crimes. Whereas the weaponizing of aid by TPLF and the act of siphoning assistance away from intended beneficiaries in the Tigray Region is a common path taken by TPLF since the 1980s, what was confirmed yesterday has now visibly become too conspicuous to miss.
The Federal Government of Ethiopia unequivocally demands the return of the stolen fuel and requires the international humanitarian community to take serious action and exercise honesty and transparency concerning the above-mentioned confirmed reports and evidence.
Government expects the international community to hold the TPLF accountable and provide the Federal Government guarantees that humanitarian assistance is indeed reaching intended beneficiaries and our people in the Tigray Region.
“With a continued firm commitment to the peaceful resolution of the conflict, the Federal Government of Ethiopia advises the TPLF to cease all hostilities and return stolen humanitarian assistance. Otherwise, the Government will be forced to take remedial actions at its discretion, the statement added.