US Calls on African Union to Exert Pressure Over Worsening Crisis in Tigray

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday called on the African Union and other international partners to help address a deepening crisis in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region as he condemned alleged atrocities in fighting there. Blinken’s statement suggested growing frustration with the response so far from Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea to what America’s top diplomat described as a “worsening humanitarian crisis.” His remarks came a day after Amnesty International released a report accusing Eritrean forces of killing hundreds of civilians in Tigray in a 24-hour period last…

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US Report Documents Atrocities, Ethnic Cleansing in Tigray, NY Times Says

An internal U.S. government report obtained by The New York Times says that Ethiopia is conducting “a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing” under the cover of war in the Tigray region, an area largely controlled by Amhara militias in the northern part of the country. The Times says the report, written earlier in February, describes “in stark terms a land of looted houses and deserted villages where tens of thousands of people are unaccounted for.” According to the Times, the report finds that Ethiopian officials and allied militia fighters from…

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Journalist’s Home Set Ablaze Amid Niger Violence

The home of a Radio France International (RFI) reporter was burned down Thursday during post-election violence in Niger’s capital, Niamey. RFI correspondent Moussa Kaka and his family were not harmed in the attack, but their house was badly damaged. The French public broadcaster said it believes Kaka was targeted for his journalism and noted the attack took place just four days after the second round of the presidential election. “This is a very serious attack on the freedom of the press and the safety of our colleague,” RFI said in…

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UN Launches Multimillion Dollar Appeal for Uprooted Central Africans

GENEVA – The U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, is appealing for $164 million to assistance and protect nearly 1.5 million Central Africans uprooted by conflict and violence. Civil conflict in the Central African Republic has uprooted about one-third of the country’s population of 4.7 million, most now refugees in neighboring countries. A new wave of violence triggered by December’s disputed presidential election in the CAR. has added to the nearly 1.3 million refugees in the region. The U.N. Refugee Agency says 100,000 more people are newly displaced inside the CAR. It…

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Human Rights Violations Eroding Fundamental Freedoms Globally, Bachelet Says

GENEVA – U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet warns a proliferation of human rights violations around the world is eroding fundamental freedoms and heightening grievances that are destabilizing. Presenting a global update Friday to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Bachelet zipped through a long litany of global offenders. No region was spared. Few countries emerged with clean hands. She criticized repressive policies in powerful countries such as Russia, which she said enacted new legal provisions late last year that further limited fundamental freedoms. “Existing restrictive laws…

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Hundreds of Nigerian Schoolgirls Taken in Mass Abduction

LAGOS, NIGERIA – Gunmen abducted 317 girls Friday from a boarding school in northern Nigeria, police said, the latest in a series of mass kidnappings of students in the West African nation. Police and the military have begun joint operations to rescue the girls after the attack at the Government Girls Junior Secondary School in Jangebe town, according to a police spokesperson in Zamfara state, Mohammed Shehu, who confirmed the number abducted. One parent, Nasiru Abdullahi, told The Associated Press that his daughters, ages 10 and 13, are among the…

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Medical Oxygen Scarce in Africa, Latin America Amid Virus

DAKAR, SENEGAL – A crisis over the supply of medical oxygen for coronavirus patients has struck nations in Africa and Latin America, where warnings went unheeded at the start of the pandemic and doctors say the shortage has led to unnecessary deaths. It takes about 12 weeks to install a hospital oxygen plant and even less time to convert industrial oxygen manufacturing systems into a medical-grade network. But in Brazil and Nigeria, as well as in less-populous nations, decisions to fully address inadequate supplies only started being made last month,…

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US Restoration of Foreign Aid to Ethiopia Signals New Course

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration reversed a policy that had linked foreign aid to Ethiopia to its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) hydropower project signaling a decided change in U.S. relations with Ethiopia, analysts say. “It is a fairly predictable move, as the Trump administration aid freeze had not achieved anything other than further antagonizing the Ethiopians,” William Davison, International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Ethiopia told VOA. Former President Donald Trump cut $100 million in aid to Ethiopia in September 2020 saying it would be withheld until the country…

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