Aid group says staff saw Ethiopian soldiers kill civilians in Tigray
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) staff travelling in Ethiopia's Tigray region saw Ethiopian soldiers shoot dead four civilians, the medical aid agency said on Thursday. The incident happened on the road between the regional capital Mekelle and the town of Adigrat on Tuesday and followed an apparent attack on an Ethiopian military convoy, MSF said
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) staff travelling in Ethiopia's Tigray region saw Ethiopian soldiers shoot dead four civilians, the medical aid agency said on Thursday.
The incident happened on the road between the regional capital Mekelle and the town of Adigrat on Tuesday and followed an apparent attack on an Ethiopian military convoy, MSF said.
Redwan Hussein, spokesman for the government’s emergency task force on Tigray, Billene Seyoum, spokeswoman for the prime minister, and Mulu Nega, head of Tigray's interim administration, did not respond to requests for comment on the MSF statement.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the MSF account.
In its statement, MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders, said Ethiopian soldiers stopped an MSF car and two public minibuses driving behind it.
"The soldiers then forced the passengers to leave the minibuses. The men were separated from the women, who were allowed to walk away. Shortly after, the men were shot," the aid group said.
MSF said its staff saw the bodies of those killed by the road.
Almost five months of fighting between Ethiopian government troops and the region's former ruling party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), have left thousands of people dead and forced hundreds of thousands more to flee their homes in the mountainous region of about five million.
Though the government declared victory in late November, fighting has continued in some areas and the United Nations and aid groups say insecurity is preventing badly needed aid from reaching hundreds of thousands of civilians.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed acknowledged for the first time this week that atrocities including rape had been committed during the fighting and said any soldiers committing crimes would be punished.
The United Nations said on Thursday it would work with state-appointed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to jointly probe allegations of rights abuses by all parties in the Tigray conflict.
(Reporting by Nairobi newsroom; Editing by Robert Birsel and Jon Boyle)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.