The director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has on Thursday denied an allegation from his own country, Ethiopia, that he was lobbying neighboring nations to provide arms and other support to the defiant Tigray region, which has been clashing with the Ethiopian government for two weeks.
Earlier, Ethiopia’s army chief accused the WHO chief of lobbying in favour of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), in the ongoing fighting between Tiagray and federal troops.
General Berhanu Jula said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had “left no stone unturned” to support the TPLF and help get them weapons. Tedros Ghebreyesus, is the country’s highest-profile Tigrayan abroad.
In response, Tedros said “there have been reports suggesting that I am taking sides in this situation,” adding that “this is not true, and I want to say that I am on only one side and that is the side of peace.”
In a statement released on Thursday he added, “My heart breaks for my home, Ethiopia.” He recalled seeing war as a child and its “terrible human toll,” and he joined international calls for an immediate de-escalation.
Meanwhile, the use of offensives and ground troops have continued in Mekelle, Tiagrai capital. Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed has refused international call for peaceful settlement. Abiy Ahmed says the military operation against Tigray is essential to restore law and order in the country.
The Ethiopian government also reiterated that it wants to repatriate the thousands of Ethiopians who’ve fled to Sudan and address their humanitarian needs.
UNHCR teams say they are on stand-by to provide assistance to the internally displaced and the Eritrean refugee populations within the Tigray region of Ethiopia, when access and security allow.
The International Community of Red Cross Africa regional director, Patrick Youssef, outlined the current situation, saying hundreds of civilians have been injured by the fighting and are being treated.
Okonjo-Iweala Named Forbes Africa Person Of The Year
Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has on Tuesday been named Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2020.
Forbes Africa disclosed this in a tweet saying Okonjo-Iweala who is a candidate for the office of the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), has been named “The 2020 African person of the Year.”
Reacting to the news, Okonjo-Iweala said she is “thrilled to be named Forbes Africa-CNBC ‘2020 African of the Year’ following in the footsteps of my great brothers Paul Kagame and Akin Adesina.”
She added “This award is for Africans suffering the health and economic impact of COVID-19. The energy and resilience of Africans inspires me”.
Mauritania Uncovers Illegal Migration Networks
Mauritanian authorities say they have uncovered more than 30 illegal migration networks and repatriated around 4,000 persons to various west African countries.
Interior minister, Mohamed Salem Ould Merzoug, told local media there had been an increase in the number of persons trying to reach Spain’s Canary Islands – an alternative route to the Mediterranean Sea where some migrants have been deterred by stricter controls and instability in Libya.
The United Nations has called for greater efforts to disrupt people-smuggling rings, after more than 140 persons died off the coast of Senegal in October in the deadliest shipwreck of the year.
Amnesty Urges UN To Maintain South Sudan Arms Embargo
Amnesty International is urging the United Nations Security Council to maintain its arms embargo on South Sudan amid what the human rights group calls “extreme violence by government forces, and an increase in attacks on civilians, including war crimes.”
The UN security council is due to conduct a mid-term review of its arms embargo and other measures on South Sudan before mid-December.
The council first established an arms embargo on South Sudan in 2018. It was renewed last year and subsequently extended by a year in may this year.
Amnesty says it had documented “a series of extrajudicial executions, forced displacement, torture, and destruction of civilian property by government and former opposition forces.”
The group cited a four-fold increase in violence in the states of Jonglei, Lakes, Warrap and Western Equatoria between April and June compared to the same period last year.
Amnesty says as South Sudan was calling for the embargo to be reviewed earlier this year, “government soldiers were shooting civilians, burning homes, raping women and girls, and displacing tens of thousands of people from their villages in the south of the country.”