NAIROBI (Somaliguardian) – Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed has denied that there is hunger in the conflict-torn Tigray region after UN agencies said hundreds of thousands of people are on the brink of death due to starvation.
After casting his vote on Monday, Abiy admitted there was a problem but said his government would fix it as an 8-month-long conflict in the northern Ethiopian region unleashes greatest humanitarian disaster it has witnessed in decades.
“There is no hunger in Tigray,” Mr Abiy told the BBC after he had voted. “There is a problem and the government is capable of fixing that.”
The remarks have come just a few weeks after UN-backed estimate suggested that more than 350,000 people are living in famine conditions in Tigray region, a number that could potentially rise if emergency humanitarian aid does not reach many parts of the restive region, despite Eritrean and Ethiopian troops using force to prevent relief agencies from traveling to many rural areas.
UN humanitarian chief, privately briefing a UN Security Council meeting last week, said there was famine in the northern Ethiopian war-wrecked region.
He accused troops from neighboring Eritrea, who are fighting alongside Ethiopian forces, of using starvation as a weapon of war, an assertion Eritrea has strongly denied.
Amid growing calls for Eritrean troops to leave the region, the Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed said his government would not push the Eritreans out but was working with them to “finalize… issues peacefully”.
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