Addis Ababa June 1/2022/ENA/ Given the previous experiences of TPLF in aid diversion and taking its advantages of humanitarian operation for the purpose of military conflicts, it is entirely reasonable for both the Government of Ethiopia and any other observers to consider the distinct possibility that this is happening again, a foreign journalist and observer of northern Ethiopia conflict said.

It is to be recalled that the international community, including UN agencies, have been delivering humanitarian aid to Tigray since the past several months.

However, the Government of Ethiopia and other observers have been expressing concerns as to whether the aid is distributed appropriately and reaches the people in the region.  

Scoop Independent News Editor-in-Chief, Alastair Thompson told ENA that the concerns are right, recalling the 1985 famine in Ethiopia when TPLF diverted 95 percent of the 100 million USD aid raised to fight famine in northern Ethiopia and spent it on weapons.

“The group was known for its involvement in sort of circular transactions, almost like money laundering, by selling aids again and again to generate large amount of money,” he revealed.

Thompson also mentioned the recent reports of looting by TPLF on the warehouses of USAID, UNICEF and others in Amhara region of Ethiopia.

He cited the recent research conducted by Professor Ann Fitz-Gerald by interviewing IDPs who fled from Tigray, revealing the fact that TPLF is using humanitarian aid for its political agenda and military purposes.  

“This is clear evidence that TPLF is making use of UN resources for the purpose of its war efforts,” he stressed, noting that “they (UN) have never answered any questions about that. I don’t think that is acceptable.”  

The UN needs to provide an explanation about the efforts and measures they have taken to prevent the use of their supplies for helping the war efforts in the country, Thompson added.

Asked whether he agrees with the concern of several observers about the absence of transparent monitoring mechanism in the humanitarian operation in Tigray to ensure that assistance has been reaching the needy people, he replied that “ there is no visibility of anything about it.”

The concerns raised by government and observes about aid diversion by TPLF should be given the proper attention by the international community.

He further pointed out that the main issue related to humanitarian supply to Tigray is the lack of transparency and clarity about what is happening, what has happened and why the deliveries are needed and became such a politicized issue.

According to him, silence by the UN is a way of supporting misinformation. The UN seems to interpret its principle of neutrality and impartiality to mean that it cannot comment on things like this.

Thompson said the integrity of the UN is being questioned, adding that the (UN) should try to address these questions “may be if they can’t do so, may be the UN Secretary General or the offices of the political leadership in the UN. But somebody needs to address the questions whether or not the UN has facilitated the use of its resources in the conflict against the people of Ethiopia.”

The humanitarian operation in Tigray has been mismanaged from the beginning of the war as there was a clear misunderstanding among the senior UN and US officials, the editor-in-chief stated.

The UN should look into the international humanitarian operation being carried out in Tigray region of Ethiopia in order to address the concerns about the proper delivery of aid to the people in the region, he concluded.  

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