Tigray rebels accuse AU of bias as mediation efforts develop

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Rebel forces from Ethiopia’s war-torn area of Tigray on Sunday accused the African Union (AU) of bias, days after the bloc appointed former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as a mediator within the months-long battle.

The spokesman for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Getachew Reda, accused the AU of “partiality” in the direction of the Ethiopian authorities and mentioned it might be “naive to expect this mission to work”.

Northern Ethiopia has been wracked by violence since November, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed despatched troops into Tigray to topple the TPLF, the regional ruling celebration, saying the transfer got here in response to assaults on military camps.

The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner promised a swift victory, however the warfare has as a substitute dragged on for months, triggering a humanitarian disaster in Tigray, whereas the rebels have pushed into the neighbouring Afar and Amhara areas.

Abiy rejected early appeals from high-level envoys from the AU for talks with Tigrayan leaders, sticking to his line that the battle is a restricted “law and order” operation.

On Thursday, the bloc introduced Obasanjo’s appointment as a excessive consultant for the Horn of Africa, saying it was a part of a “drive to promote peace, security, stability & political dialogue”.

But on Sunday, TPLF spokesman Getachew dismissed the initiative, saying: “We are hard pressed to know… how people would reasonably expect a constructive role from an institution that has given partiality a very bad name”.

“Solving a crisis at the very least requires acknowledging the existence, let alone the magnitude of the problem,” he wrote on Twitter.

– Famine-like circumstances –

The warfare has proved to be a delicate topic for the AU, which is headquartered within the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Although Washington has been overtly crucial of Abiy’s dealing with of the warfare, African members of the UN Security Council have backed Ethiopia in opposing formal dialogue of the scenario in Tigray on the world physique.

According to the members, whose stance is backed by Russia and China, the battle is Ethiopia’s inner affair and any worldwide efforts ought to go via African leaders or through the AU.

As the battle has deepened, the humanitarian toll has spiked, with support staff struggling to achieve cut-off populations and 400,000 folks going through famine-like circumstances in Tigray, in accordance with the UN.

Obasanjo beforehand headed the AU’s election observer mission throughout Ethiopia’s polls final June, the place Abiy gained a landslide victory. But a fifth of the nation’s constituencies, together with in Tigray, have been unable to vote on account of ethnic violence and logistical issues.

There was no quick response from the AU to the TPLF’s allegations, and calls to the bloc’s representatives have been not answered.

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