Ethiopia expels top UN officials amid Tigray aid crisis

Ethiopia says it is expelling seven senior United Nations officials for “meddling” in its internal affairs.

The tweet from the foreign affairs ministry said the officials had 72 hours to leave the country.

The UN has raised concerns in recent weeks about a de-facto three month blockade of aid deliveries to the war-torn region of Tigray.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said earlier this week he assumed the region was now suffering from famine.

And he urged the government to “get those trucks moving”, telling news agency Reuters: “This is man-made, this can be remedied by the act of government.”

Ethiopia’s UN mission in New York had responded by saying “any claim on the existence of blockade is baseless” and said aid groups “faced shortage in trucks as a result of the non-return of almost all trucks that travelled to Tigray to deliver aid”, Reuters reports.

Ethiopia has not specified the allegations against the expelled officials; five of whom are from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) , one is from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and one is from the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Government forces have been fighting forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls the north Ethiopian region, for nearly a year.

Thousands of people have been killed and more than two million have fled their homes.