Food aid lorry hit by shrapnel in Tigray

Debris from a drone strike in Ethiopia’s Tigray region hit a lorry carrying humanitarian aid and injured the driver on Sunday, a spokesman of the World Food Programme (WFP) has told the Reuters news agency.

“Flying debris from the strike injured a driver contracted by WFP and caused minor damage to a WFP fleet truck,” the spokesperson is quoted as saying.

The lorry was delivering food to internally displaced people in Tigray, Reuters reports.

A spokesman for the rebel Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF), GetachewReda, termed the incident “an outrageous crime”.

Several previous air strikes have been reported by the Tigray rebels since fresh confrontations erupted on August24 – which have not been acknowledged by federal authorities.

The war in Ethiopia, between the federal government and the TPLF, has resumed at full scale. The route back to negotiations is uncertain at best.

The two sides agreed that the first shots were fired in the early morning of August24 on the southern borders of Tigray, where it adjoins the neighbouring Amhara state at the town of Kobo. Each side blames the other for firing those shots.

What is clear – from information obtained from Western diplomats – is that the Ethiopian National Defence Force and its allied Amhara militia, known as the Fano, had mobilised a huge force to that location over prior weeks.

Meanwhile, mass conscription by the TPLF had swelled its ranks and it had devoted much of its resources to training and rearming, although it has denied forced recruitment.

It captured a huge arsenal from the federal army in last year’s fighting, and there are rumours that it had also bought new weapons from abroad.

Tensions were building. And yet, just a few weeks ago, there was optimism that peace talks might soon be under way.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had authorised his deputy, Demeke Mekonnen, to head a peace committee, which began work in July. Even before that, Mr Abiy had reportedly sent senior officials to secretly meet the TPLF. -Reuters

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