Ethiopia’s government has joined the World Food Program in condemning Tigrayan forces for allegedly stealing more than half-a-million liters of fuel meant for delivering food aid.
David Beasley, head of the U.N.’s World Food Program, said Thursday on Twitter that Tigrayan forces stole 570,000 liters designated for humanitarian aid distribution in Ethiopia’s embattled region of Tigray.
The government demanded in a statement that the fuel be returned and the international humanitarian community take action against the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF. The government has been fighting the TPLF for nearly two years.
The news comes after a five-month-old cease-fire came to an end Wednesday, with the government and TPLF blaming each other for a new offensive in the north of the country.
Tigray has been under a humanitarian blockade for around eight months. Humanitarian organizations say parts of the region are likely in a state of famine due to a lack of aid, the distribution of which is exacerbated by fuel shortages.
Kjetil Tronvoll, a professor at Oslo New University College and an expert on the Ethiopian conflict, said on Twitter that a U.N. situation report stated the fuel had been loaned from Tigray authorities and claimed, therefore, that the TPLF was within its rights to take the fuel.
A TPLF spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.