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Ethiopia civil war: WHO chief Dr Tedros’ uncle ‘murdered’ in ongoing Tigray conflict

Addis Ababa, EthiopiaEdited By: Mukul SharmaUpdated: Dec 15, 2022, 07:27 PM IST
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Photograph:(Reuters)

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Ethiopia civil war: Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus nearly cancelled a WHO event because he was "not in a good shape" after hearing the news of his uncle's "murder" in the ongoing conflict.

The Ethiopian civil war's tragedy hit home for World Health Organisation's head Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus this week. The WHO chief on Wednesday nearly cancelled an official event because he was "not in a good shape" after hearing that his uncle was "murdered" in the ongoing conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Dr Tedros has been a vocal critic of Ethiopian government's role in the conflict that according to the US estimates, has "killed hundreds of thousands" and displaced millions.

Earlier, the Ethiopian government opposed Tedros' second term as head of World Health Organisation and accused him of trying to procure arms and diplomatic backing for the rebel forces. Dr Tedros has denied the charges.

"I hope that this (peace) agreement will hold and this madness will stop but it's a very difficult moment for me," Tedros told reporters, adding that more than 50 other people had been killed in the same incident. The Ethiopian government and regional forces from Tigray agreed in November to cease hostilities last month in a major breakthrough.

When asked for details of the incident on the sidelines of the event, Tedros said that his younger uncle whom he grew up with had been killed by Eritrean soldiers in a village in Tigray. He declined to give the location because he said he feared the village would face retaliation.

The loss follows the killing of his cousin last year in Tigray when a church was blown up, he said, without giving further details.

However, troops from Eritrea, to the north, and forces from the neighbouring Ethiopian region of Amhara, to the south, who fought alongside Ethiopia's military in Tigray were not party to the ceasefire.

WATCH | Ethiopia's PM vows to ensure peace in Tigray, pledges to 'honestly' implement ceasefire

Witnesses and aid workers in the northern region told Reuters that despite the truce, Eritrean forces have been looting towns, arresting and killing civilians in the towns they still control across the region.

The US government estimated that as many as 500,000 people have been killed in the conflict that erupted in 2020 between Ethiopian government and rebels from the northern Tigray region.

(With inputs from agencies)

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