UN Warns Of Possible War Crimes On Ethiopia’s Tigray
On the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray, the United Nations has warned of war crimes as deadline in the crisis looms.
The UN expressed concern about possible war crimes ahead of a threat by the Ethiopian army to start an assault on the northern Tigray region’s capital.
Fighting between Ethiopia’s central government and forces in Tigray has been going on for three weeks. Hundreds have reportedly been killed and tens of thousands have fled. And prime minister Abiy Ahmed has continued to turn down international intervention or mediation.
Aid groups fear the conflict could trigger a humanitarian crisis and destabilize east Africa.
The UN said it was alarmed by the threat of major hostilities a day before the Ethiopian army said it would advance on Tigray’s capital Mekelle, home to about 500,000 people.
The conflict started after Ethiopia’s central government accused the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a political party which controls Tigray, of holding an illegal election and attacking a military base to steal weapons.
In response, Abiy – a former Nobel Peace prize winner – ordered a military offensive against forces in Tigray, accusing them of treason.
Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed issued a 72-hour ultimatum to Tigray’s forces on Sunday, telling them to surrender as they were “at a point of no return”.
But Tigray’s forces have vowed to keep fighting, with their leader Debretsion Gebremichael saying they were “ready to die in defence of what they call their right to administer their region.
The TPLF sees Abiy Ahmed`s central government as illegitimate, arguing that Abiy does not have a mandate to lead the country after postponing national elections because of coronavirus.
Michelle Bachelet, UN high commissioner for human rights, expressed “alarm at reports of a heavy build-up of tanks and artillery around Tigray capital Mekelle”.
Uganda’s Long-Time Leader Yoweri Museveni Declared Election Winner
Uganda’s electoral commission has declared incumbent president Yoweri Museveni as winner of Saturday’s presidential election. The commission says Museveni won with fifty-eight point six-four percent of tallied votes.
The commission claims seventy-six-year-old Museveni beat his main rival, thirty-eight-year-old Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, a popular musician-turned politician. Kyagulanyi is said to have garnered thirty-four point eight–three percent of the total votes tallied.
Kyagulanyi has since rejected the declared results. He says the election was rigged. The Ugandan army and police have stepped up security in the capital city of kampala to prevent possible violence.
This will be Museveni’s sixth term in office. He has ruled the country for thirty-five years now.
Africa Surpasses 3.2 Million COVID-19 Cases
COVID-19 cases on the African continent now exceed three point two million as of Saturday, and the death toll has hit nearly seventy-eight thousand.
Africa centers for disease control and prevention, Africa CDC, says South Africa remains the hardest-hit country by the pandemic on the continent. The country has one point three million COVID-19 confirmed, cases and a death toll of nearly thirty-five thousand.
Zambia and Senegal both reported highest daily spike on Saturday with seventeen hundred ninety-six and three hundred forty-two new cases respectively.
Emirates Airlines Temporarily Suspends Flights To South Africa
Emirates Airlines says it will suspend all flights to and from south Africa from this weekend till January the 28th for operational reasons.
The Dubai-based airline says customers holding tickets with final destinations in South Africa during that period will not be accepted for travel at their point of origin. It did not elaborate further.
Emirates is popular to and from the country. South Africa has seen a surge in cases since a new variant was identified in the country in November.
Emirates is popular with travellers to and from South Africa, but there has been a sharp drop in travel because of the coronavirus outbreak.