The Ethiopian government on Monday accused the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces of killing at least 100 youths in the town of Kombolcha, an accusation the TPLF vehemently denied.
Reuters quoted Tigray forces’ spokesperson Getachew Reda as saying by satellite phone from an undisclosed location that the accusation was false. “We don’t have to kill the youth. There was no resistance in Kombolcha,” he said.
Reuters said the Ethiopian government’s spokesperson Legesse Tulu did not respond when asked by phone and message for a comment on Getachew’s statement.
The fight between Tigrayan forces and the Ethiopian government has now lasted for a year, left thousands of people dead, displaced tens of thousands and left many at an increased risk of famine.
The accusation by the Ethiopian government came just two days after the U.S. government on Saturday morning called on the TPLF to “withdraw from the Amhara and Afar regions, including halting its advances in and around the cities of Dessie and Kombolcha,” reiterating that it remains “gravely concerned by the expansion of combat in northern Ethiopia.”
“We urge the TPLF not to use artillery against cities and recall our strong objections to the ENDF airstrikes in Mekelle and other areas of Tigray which have cost countless lives. There is no military solution to this conflict, and all parties must begin ceasefire negotiations without preconditions,” the United States State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
It added, “The United States remains committed to saving lives and alleviating suffering through the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all Ethiopians in need – whether in the Tigray, Amhara, or Afar region. We continue to be alarmed by reports of the deliberate denial of humanitarian assistance in northern Ethiopia.
“Up to 900,000 people are living in famine-like conditions in Tigray while the government restricts urgently needed humanitarian supplies, including medicine, fuel, and cash for relief organizations. We repeat our call on all parties to the conflict to allow and facilitate unhindered humanitarian access.
“We reiterate our call for all parties to protect civilians and end human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. Those responsible for such abuses and violations must be held accountable.”