Tigray civilian attacks condemned

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The United States is gravely concerned about reports of hostilities in Ethiopia’s Tigray and condemns retaliatory attacks against civilians, a State Department spokesman said.

Ned Price told reporters the US continues to call for a negotiated ceasefire to the conflict that forced two million people to flee their homes and forced around 400  000 people into famine conditions.

“We strongly condemn any retaliatory attacks that have been or may be directed against civilians in the Tigray region, whether by organised military, security forces or by rogue elements,” Price said.

“All those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses must be held accountable,” he added.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters the US review into whether to call events in Tigray crimes against humanity, war crimes or genocide was ongoing.

Forces from Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray were pushing south and recaptured a town from government forces, underscoring their determination to keep fighting until the region’s pre-war borders are restored.  

Conflict erupted in Tigray eight months ago between central government forces and the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Government declared victory three weeks later when it took regional capital Mekelle, but the TPLF kept fighting.

On June 28, the TPLF recaptured Mekelle and now controls most of Tigray. Some parts in the west and south are claimed by the neighbouring Amhara region, which sent fighters to the contested areas.