Ethiopia Says Forces Fired on UN Team Over Barrier Breaches

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Ethiopia’s government said a United Nations team came under fire in the northern Tigray region after breaching at least two checkpoints.

The team was in the area on Sunday to conduct a security assessment for humanitarian agencies preparing to enter the conflict-torn region. They skipped the checkpoints and then drove in restricted areas, said Redwan Hussein, the state foreign minister and spokesperson for the government’s Emergency Task Force.

“They were about to break the third one and they were shot at and detained,” Redwan said. “Now they are free.”

Ethiopia’s government last week agreed to allow humanitarian agencies to access refugees and people internally displaced by a month of conflict in Tigray. Aid groups say they’re still struggling to access the area.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the UN is discussing the incident with the Ethiopian authorities. Four people were in the convoy that came under attack as they were conducting an assessment of roads before larger aid convoys head to the area, he said.

“We have seen the reports of a UN convoy being shot at in the Tigray province,” Dujarric said in New York. “These are alarming reports and we are engaging in the highest level with the federal government to express our concerns and avoid any such incidences in the future.”

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