The United Nations has confirmed that military forces are impeding humanitarian access to parts of Ethiopia’s war-torn Tigray region, after an exclusive CNN investigation revealed that Eritrean troops were coordinating with Ethiopian forces to cut off critical aid routes. A CNN team traveling through Tigray’s central zone witnessed Eritrean soldiers, some disguising themselves in old Ethiopian military uniforms, blocking aid to starving populations more than a month after Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize winning leader Abiy Ahmed pledged to the international community that they would leave. In the UN’s first statement confirming the obstruction of aid, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Wednesday that “blockades by military forces” had severely impeded the ability for assistance to reach rural areas where the humanitarian crisis is worst. At least 5.2 million people out of 5.7 million in Tigray are in need of emergency food assistance, according to the UN and Ethiopian government. US officials estimate that as many as 1.25 million people live in areas humanitarian workers cannot access. Between March 27 and May 5, the government, the World Food Programme (WFP) and other partners provided food aid to more than 1.2 million people in 32 districts.
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