NAIROBI - On the day Samantha Power landed in Ethiopia this week, its civil war - now escalating and spreading beyond the northern region of Tigray - entered its 10th month. Amid allegations that Ethiopian troops and their allies have committed war crimes, ethnic cleansing and driven parts of Tigray into famine, the United States has already withheld security assistance and effectively banned travel for top officials. But Power, who is in charge of the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, holds the biggest American lever of influence over Addis Ababa: more than $1 billion in annual aid ranging from health and education support to food and emergency humanitarian response, which makes the United States the largest aid donor to Ethiopia. It's a moment seemingly made for Power, the former U.N. ambassador under President Barack Obama who came to prominence in 2002 with her book "A Problem From Hell," which excoriated American inaction during mass killings in Rwanda … [Read more...] about Samantha Power has long championed humanitarian intervention. Ethiopia’s crisis is putting her to the test.
9 WAD EL HILU, Sudan (AP) — From time to time, a body floating down the river separating Ethiopia’s troubled Tigray region from Sudan was a silent reminder of a war conducted in the shadows. But in recent days, the corpses became a flow. Bloated, drained of color from their journey, the bodies were often mutilated: genitals severed, eyes gouged, a missing limb. The Sudanese fishermen who spotted them, and the refugees from Tigray who helped pull them to shore, found many corpses’ hands bound. Some of them had been shot. The Associated Press reported dozens of bodies floating down the Tekeze River earlier this week and saw six of the graves on Wednesday, marking the first time any reporters could reach the scene. Doctors who saw the bodies said one was tattooed with a common name in the Tigrinya language and others had the facial markings common among Tigrayans, raising fresh alarm about atrocities in the … [Read more...] about At river where Tigrayan bodies floated, fears of ‘many more’
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday called for combatants to respect the cultural heritage in Lalibela, whose famed rock-hewn churches are a United Nations World Heritage Site, after forces from Ethiopia's Tigray region took control of the town. Lalibela, also a holy site for millions of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, is in the North Wollo Zone of the Amhara region in Ethiopia's north. In recent weeks fighting has spread from Tigray into two neighbouring regions, Amhara and Afar, forcing around 250,000 people to flee. "We've seen the reports that Tigrayan forces have taken Lalibela. We call on the TPLF to protect this cultural heritage," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters. The U.S. State Department again called for all parties to the conflict to agree to an end to the violence and allow humanitarian access to the Tigray region, where war broke out in November between the federal army and forces belonging to the Tigray People's Liberation … [Read more...] about U.S. calls for Tigrayan forces to respect Lalibela cultural heritage