Eruptions in Ethiopia could drive hundreds of thousands across Sudan — Ethiopia UN

Warring Sides in Ethiopia Both Claim They Are Winning

An Ethiopian woman who fled war in the Tigray region, carries her food ration as others queue at the Um-Rakoba camp on the Sudan-Ethiopia border in Al-Qadarif state, Sudan, November 19, 2020.

On Friday, Tigrayan forces fired rockets at the capital of the neighboring Amhara region, possibly targeting its airport.

People left in a great hurry, the United Nations officials said, and most arrived in Sudan with nothing.

"Our defence forces are moving forward and closing in on Mekelle", government spokesman Redwan Hussein told reporters. On Saturday it said Adigrat had also fallen, about 116km north of Mekelle.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has denied claims by Ethiopia that he is supporting the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). It has been impossible to verify assertions on all sides because telephone lines and internet links to Tigray have been severed since the conflict began.

So far, the TPLF has not commented on the rocket attack.

"We took the baby and ran under the bombs", Taharsta said.

"At this point, neither party, from everything we hear, is interested in mediation", said Tibor Nagy, the top USA diplomat for Africa.

Regional official Gizachew Muluneh told AFP that three rockets were fired but none resulted in casualties or damage.

Bahir Dar, Amhara's lakeside capital, is hundreds of kilometres from the fighting in Tigray. Numerous makeshift camps set up in Sudan are overcrowded and refugees have been struggling with unsanitary conditions, limited access to water, and food. Many families arrived with nothing more than the clothes on their back.

Nagy said of the airstrike: "From what you say, I certainly hope it's not true".

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Aid agencies have no access to Ethiopia's conflict zone in Tigray, but they fear that thousands of civilians may have been killed since fighting erupted at the beginning of November.

Now, some of those Eritrean refugees have fled again into Sudan, aid workers said. "The new planning figure is around 200,000".

"This could unravel Ethiopia and also Sudan", the UNICEF country representative in Sudan, Abdullah Fadil, said of the crisis. The rebel leaders say Abiy's government has marginalised and persecuted Tigrayans since taking office two years ago. "It's a deeply traumatic and depressing time for many", Carter said.

Ethiopian government officials have accused Tedros of "treason" for colluding with Egypt against the government of President Abiy Ahmed.

The conflict started when Abiy accused TPLF forces of attacking two federal military camps in the region.

A statement from Tigray's self-declared president Debretsion Gebremichael on Thursday said the army had "called upon assistance from an outside force, with drones starting to be used in the battle".

Abiy has insisted the military operation's narrow target is the "reactionary and rogue" members of the TPLF, and not ordinary Tigrayan civilians.

Tigrayan leaders are steadily widening the conflict by attacking targets in Ethiopia and Eritrea, which they accuse of colluding with the federal government to destroy them.

Reports of ethnically motivated killings have emerged.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Wednesday that the Ethiopia Red Cross Society had "transported hundreds of people injured in areas affected by clashes".

Some of the refugees are arriving with accounts of shelling or airplanes flying overhead, but Bisschop said for now authorities are asking mainly "humanitarian questions" as they urgently seek to provide services.

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