Thousands Flee Fierce Fighting in Ethiopia

Hundreds dead on both side in Tigray conflict
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 12, 2020 12:05 AM CST
200K Expected to Flee Ethiopia Fighting
Ethiopians read newspapers and magazines reporting on the current military confrontation in the country, one of which shows a photograph of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, on a street in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020.   (AP Photo/Samuel Habtab)

Up to 200,000 refugees could pour into Sudan while fleeing a deadly conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, officials said Wednesday, while the first details are emerging of largely cut-off civilians under growing strain. Nearly 10,000 people have crossed the border, including some wounded in the fighting, and the flow is growing quickly. "There are lots of children and women," Al-Sir Khalid, the head of the refugee agency in Sudan's Kassala province, tells the AP. "They are arriving very tired and exhausted. They are hungry and thirsty since they have walked long distances on rugged terrain." Authorities are overwhelmed and the situation is deteriorating, he says. Inside the Tigray region, long lines have appeared outside bread shops, and supply-laden trucks are stranded at its borders, the United Nations humanitarian chief in Ethiopia says.

Communications remain almost completely severed with the Tigray region a week after Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced a military offensive in response to an alleged attack by regional forces. He insists there will be no negotiations with a regional government he considers illegal until its ruling "clique" is arrested and its well-stocked arsenal is destroyed. There was no sign of a lull in the fighting that has included multiple airstrikes by federal forces and hundreds of people reported dead on each side. Ethiopia’s federal government and Tigray’s regional government, the Tigray People's Liberation Front, blame each other for starting the conflict. Each regards the other as illegal. The TPLF dominated Ethiopia's ruling coalition for years before Abiy came to office in 2018 but has since broken away.

(More Ethiopia stories.)

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