In the scramble to try to find out whats going in the Tigray province of Ethiopia, UN staffers were fired upon because they defied the Ethiopian army checkpoints.
Redwan Hussein, spokesman for the Ethiopian government’s task force for Tigray, explained to reporters that the U.N. team passed through two checkpoints without stopping. The continued further hastily driving into an unauthorized area.
“When they were about to break the third one they were shot at and detained,” he said.
The weeks old conflict has seen the federal Ethiopian government under PM Abi Ahmed crush the TPLF resistance in Tigray after they defied the central government. Ahmed has been focused on centralizing Ethiopia and breaking down the stranglehold over the Ethiopian economy that the TPLF has had over the last 20 years.
The UN staffers were told not to go into certain areas and they defied orders. Some were arrested and others shot at.
The international community has become worried about the Ethiopian conflict spiraling out of control and splintering the country along ethnic lines. Ethiopia is seen as a regional powerhouse, which is why China is hoping for a quick end to the conflict and a consolidation under Abi Ahmed’s moves. This is why Eritrea, who was once at war with Ethiopia has been interested in helping Addis Ababa put down the insurgency in the North. Both need stability in order to lock further Chinese investment across the Horn of Africa.
The UN’s defiance of Ethiopian orders in Tigray is more than just a mistake. There are those within the agency who seek a balance to Beijing’s expansion across the strategic Horn of Africa and may be willing to use Tigray to get it.
While there is a clear humanitarian crisis forming, the international community mostly European led appear to be exacerbating Ethiopian tensions with the outside world.
Jan Egeland, head of the internationalist Norwegian Refugee Council has jumped in, exhorting Addis Ababa to allow unfettered aid.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations chimed in as well:
Tigray may be a looming disaster, but it is unclear why the UN sees fit to focus outsized energy on it as opposed to the crisis between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh or even elsewhere on the African continent like Buhari’s ethnic cleansing of the Igbo.
This sort of over focus by Western international organizations unintentionally pushes countries like Ethiopia further into the pocket of China who asks no questions, except for demanding total obedience.