On Monday, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on the Eritrean army chief of staff for his involvement in “serious human rights violations”. The conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
The US Treasury announced that the forces of General Philippos Voldiohanes, Chief of Staff of the Eritrean Army, were responsible for “massacres, looting and sexual assaults.”
“Eritrean forces have raped, tortured, and executed civilians, as well as destroyed property and looted businesses,” the US Treasury statement said.
“The Eritrean forces deliberately shot civilians in the streets, conducted systematic house searches, executed men and boys, forced families in Tigray to leave their homes and seized their homes and properties,” she added. It announced the freezing of all property and interests of Voldeohannis in the United States, and prohibited Americans from dealing with him.
Residents of Tigray mourn their dead (archive – AFP)
“The Department of the Treasury will continue to take action against those implicated in the commission of serious human rights abuses around the world, including in the Tigray region of Ethiopia,” Andrea Gaghi, director of the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in a statement. “These actions exacerbate the ongoing conflict and the humanitarian crisis,” Gäki added.
“We urge Eritrea to withdraw its forces from Ethiopia immediately and permanently, and we also urge the parties to the conflict to start negotiations for a ceasefire and an end to practices that violate human rights,” she added.
The ministry said the conflict in Tigray had “aggravated the humanitarian crisis, which threatens the lives of hundreds of thousands of people”.
“Despite the announcement by the Ethiopian government on June 28 of a unilateral ceasefire, the parties on both sides continue to escalate the conflict,” she added, adding, “These escalatory practices threaten to exacerbate the acute humanitarian crisis.”
Eritrea sent troops to Tigray after the Ethiopian army in November launched a crackdown on rebels in the region in response to an attack on a government base.
Eritrea denied for several months that it had deployed troops to Tigray, but later admitted this, saying it was not involved in any human rights abuses.
The United States has again accused the Ethiopian government of obstructing the delivery of aid to the Tigray region, which has been witnessing conflicts since late November, warning that food aid will run out this week for millions of hungry people under a siege imposed by the Addis Ababa authorities on the Tigray region.
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