Ethiopia’s military has accused the World Health Organization’s (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of supporting and trying to procure arms and diplomatic support for Tigray state’s dominant political party, which is fighting the federal troops.
“This man is a member of that group and he has been doing everything to support them,” the army chief of staff, General Berhanu Jula, said in a televised statement on Thursday.
He has worked in neighbouring countries to condemn the war. He has worked for them to get weapons,” Berhanu said.
Berhanu said Tedros had “left no stone unturned” to help the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), the party Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said it is targeting in a military offensive in the region.
“What do you expect from him [Tedros]? We don’t expect he will side with the Ethiopian people and condemn them,” Berhanu said.
Tedros – an Ethiopian of Tigrayan descent who served as health minister in a former government coalition led by the TPLF – and the WHO are yet to respond to the accusation.
The 55-year-old was appointed as the first African head of the WHO in 2017 and has become a household name as he grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. He has been ranked as one of Time magazine’s most influential people.
The government statement referenced reports of ethnic killings in the town of Mai Kadra, documented by human rights group Amnesty International this week.
Survivors of the reported attack told Amnesty researchers militias affiliated with the local Tigray regional government killed many – even hundreds – of civilians, some of whom were ethnic Amharas.
Information from all sides has been impossible to verify because internet and phone connections to Tigray have been suspended and the government has restricted access to the area.
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