Ethiopia accuses international community of ‘double standards’ in Tigray conflict

Thursday July 29 2021
Ethiopian Army soldiers

Ethiopian Army soldiers stand as a child stand next to them at Mai Aini Refugee camp, in Ethiopia, on January 30, 2021. PHOTO | AFP


The Ethiopian government on Wednesday accused the international community of responding with "dead silence" to belligerence by the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).

Speaking at a press conference, the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s spokesperson, Billen Seyoum, said the armed group is escalating its violence by attacking regional states.

She also accused TPLF of killing civilians and forcibly recruiting children to use them as soldiers, yet "the international community's silence has been quite outstanding."

Billen further accused the international community of being mute when civilians are being used as human shields by the group that Addis Ababa has declared a terror entity.

"Clear double standards seem to be at play in the silence towards TPLF's harrassment and overt belligerence" Billen said.

The PM’s office also expressed concern over the safety of Eritrean refugees being sheltered at camps in Tigray region.


According to the spokeswoman, at least six Eritrean refugees have so far been killed but it is not clear by who.

The United States on Tuesday expressed concern about reported attacks on Eritrean refugees. The US  State Department on Tuesday called for an immediate stop to intimidation and attacks on the refugees.

Addis Ababa's accusations come as TPLF forces keep penetrating deeper into Afar and Amhara regions, capturing key towns on both fronts.

A few days ago, the commander of TPLF’s forces, General Tsadkan Gebretensae, said that Addis Ababa is within reach and that its forces could march to the capital with "no real resistance".

He further alleged that Presidential Guard forces sent by Addis Ababa to fight had been destroyed.

As TPLF advances toward the historic and tourist destination of Gonder city, one of the largest in Amhara state, Mr Agegnehu Teshager, president of the Amhara regional government, on Sunday reportedly called on "all young people" to take up arms against Tigrayan fighters who are battling the federal government’s military.

"I call on all young people, militia, non-militia in the region, armed with any government weapon, armed with personal weapons, to join the anti-TPLF war mission from tomorrow," said Teshager.

In response, TPLF spokesman, Getachew Reda, tweeted that "Agegnehu Teshager is not going to commit suicide because of Raya and Welqait and even Gonder falling in our hands".

He said Agegnehu is calling on "the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia to rally against, not our forces, but against the people of Tigray".

"Our forces are advancing in every direction and no one is going to stop them, not even rain. Ethiopia needs a new political dispensation," the TPLF official, who is Ethiopia’s former Communications minister, added.

Since conflict in Tigray region broke out in November last year, thousands have been killed and more than two million displaced.

As many as five million people in the region remain dependent on emergency food aid.