Authorities in the war-torn Tigray region of Ethiopia accuse security forces from a neighboring region of forcing citizens to leave their homes.
An MSF group in Tigray. Photo gallery.
Gebremeskle Casa, Chief of Staff of the Tigray Regional Government, said that between 3,500 and 5,000 residents were evacuated by about 60 trucks and buses in the city of Shire.
The accusation is leveled at forces in the neighboring Amhara region, which largely sided with Addis Ababa when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered an attack on Tigray in November.
The battle affected the Tigrayan Liberation Front government in the region. According to the government in Addis Ababa, the TPLF attacked army bases.
The dispute over land ownership is complicated by the fact that Amhara claims that the TPLF has illegally seized the land since the group seized power in Tigray in the 1990s. The regional government in Amhara did not respond to AFP’s question about reaction to the information.
In a statement issued by the US State Department in February, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called for the immediate withdrawal of Amhara forces from Tigray. The US move angered the government in Addis Ababa, which it described as “unfortunate.”
MSF warns that as many as 10,000 people have arrived in Shire in the past week or two, and that the situation is “alarming, but has not reached alarming levels,” according to spokesperson Kate White.