UN Food Agency: Debris from a drone strike hit a truck in northern Ethiopia

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NAIROBI (Reuters) – Debris from a drone strike in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region hit a World Food Program truck carrying humanitarian aid, wounding its driver, a World Food Program spokesman said on Monday.

The World Food Program, a United Nations agency, is helping to coordinate humanitarian aid to Tigray, where the nearly two-year conflict has killed thousands of people and left millions in need of assistance.

A spokesman for the World Food Program told Reuters that the drone strike on Sunday took place near an area called Zana Warida in northwest Tigray.

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“Flying debris from the strike hit a WFP-contracted driver and slightly damaged a WFP fleet truck,” the spokesperson said, adding that it could not be said yet whether further distributions in the area would be suspended.

Two humanitarian workers, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters that food distributions by another aid agency had been disrupted by the bombing in Tigray.

The Ethiopian Government Communication Service said in a statement that the government has asked aid organizations to avoid operating in areas where they are taking precautionary measures in response to attacks on them by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which rules the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

The communications service said that in the past aid vehicles had been hijacked and that the TPLF had transported its fighters on trucks with UN emblems.

A WFP truck was delivering food to the internally displaced. Humanitarian sources said hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by renewed fighting since August 24, when a five-month ceasefire collapsed.

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Since then, the World Food Program said, no truck carrying food aid has entered Tigray.

It says an estimated 13 million people in Tigray and adjacent areas of Amhara and Afar “are in dire need of food assistance”.

The conflict pits Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government against the Tigray Liberation Front, which used to dominate Ethiopia’s ruling coalition.

The government accuses the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front of trying to reassert Tigrayan hegemony over Ethiopia. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front accuses Abe of excessive centralization of power and oppression of the Tigrayans.

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Reporting from the Nairobi newsroom. Editing by George Opolutsa, Aaron Ross and David Gregorio

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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