NAIROBI (Somaliguardian) – The United States is imposing targeted sanctions on officials in Ethiopia and Eritrea complicit in human rights abuses during the conflict in Tigray region, the US State Department said on Sunday.
Washington will also suspend economic and security assistance to Addis Ababa over its handling of the crisis in the war-wrecked northern Ethiopian region.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement the US actions were to press for a resolution of the crisis. The parties involved “have taken no meaningful steps to end hostilities or pursue a peaceful resolution of the political crisis,” he noted.
Both Ethiopia and Eritrea have not immediately commented on the US decision.
Thousands died and more than 2 million people have been forced from their homes since the war erupted in northern Ethiopia in November of last year. Residents have accused Eritrean and Ethiopian troops, and militias from neighboring Amhara region of carrying out mass executions, gang-rapes and other horrific atrocities against civilians.
In a new exclusive report, UK-based The Telegraph newspaper reported that Ethiopia and Eritrea’s troops had used a powerful incendiary, including white phosphorous in attacks on civilians in Tigray region and photos showing people sustaining severe burns at hospitals in the region have circulated on social media.
Ethiopia said last week it had put soldiers on trial for killing civilians and rape, although the court records were not yet public.
US decision has come several months after the European Union suspended budget support payments to Ethiopia following reports of gang rapes, mass killings of civilians and widespread looting in the region.
Blinken said the United States would continue humanitarian assistance and certain other critical aid to Ethiopia and would continue existing broad restrictions on assistance to Eritrea.
Secretary of State threatened that further US actions were possible. He stressed that the United States called on Ethiopia to hold accountable those responsible for the rights violations and abuses committed in Tigray region since what the country’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed billed as a “law enforcement” operation swung into action late last year.
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