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Ethiopia Tigray: Military trucks carrying artillery fighters sighted in Amhara, Afar regions

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Ben Curtis/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved -

Ethiopia

Military trucks carrying artillery and fighters were seen driving towards Ethiopia's Afar region as the nation's war in Tigray continues to spill over into neighbouring areas.

The war in Africa’s second-most populous country has ground on for nearly a year between Ethiopian and allied forces and the Tigray ones who long dominated the national government before a falling-out with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Despite pleas from the U.N. and others to allow basic services and humanitarian aid to Tigray’s 6 million people, Ethiopia’s government this week called those expectations “absurd” while the Tigray forces now fight in the neighboring regions of Amhara and Afar.

Over recent months the Afar region has played host to convoys of trucks from the UN's World Food Programme as it attempts to deliver much needed aid to people in Tigray, according to British Broadcaster Sky News.

Using the region's capital of Semera as a staging post vehicles packed with supplies have been heading out on a two-day journey to the Tigrayan border.

However, according to Sky News, some of the trucks have been stopped or attacked by local residents, angry at the Tigrayans for what they say have been attacks and raids carried out on their communities.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced in the Amhara and Afar regions due to continued fighting.

Near the town of Shahigubi in the Afar region, 400 men were seen living under trees after becoming displaced from their homes due to the conflict, Sky News said. A nearby school was acting as shelter for women and children.

Humanitarian workers are trying to reach the displaced and often hungry people in the Amhara and Afar regions, where communications blackouts and active fighting challenge efforts to confirm claims by the warring sides.

Witnesses have told the AP that some Tigray forces are killing civilians, the latest abuses in a war marked by gang-rapes, mass expulsions and widespread detentions of ethnic Tigrayans.

New airstrikes hit the capital of the Tigray region and another community on Wednesday, injuring at least 14 people and leaving three others in a critical condition, officials said.

Ethiopia's government said it targeted facilities to make and repair weapons, which a spokesman for the rival Tigray forces denied.

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