UN halts food aid to Ethiopian towns after looting

The World Food Programme has suspended food aid distribution in Ethiopia’s Dessie and Kombolcha towns after its warehouses were looted by rebel Tigray forces.

The UN said WFP staff were unable to prevent the stealing after facing extreme intimidation including being held at gunpoint during the theft.

It says that large quantities of food supplies – including nutritional items for malnourished children – were looted in Kombolcha in recent days.

A UN spokesman also accused government troops of commandeering three WFP humanitarian lorries and using them for their own purposes.

Kombolcha and Dessie, which sit on the crucial highway to the capital Addis Ababa, were this week recaptured by federal forces led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Government troops have recently reclaimed towns and cities in the Afar and Amhara regions, previously held by fighters from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

This week, the government released photographs from liberated towns in Amhara region showing destroyed schools, airports, hospitals, and private businesses. It accused TPLF of carrying out the destruction.

The UN says more than nine million people are now in critical need of food assistance following the year-long civil war.

Source: bbc

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