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Situation Gets Tougher in Tigray

Ethiopian troops shot at and detained UN staff after they drove through check-points in the conflict-hit northern Tigray region, government spokesman Redwan Hussein has confirmed. The UN team ignored instructions not to be in the area, he added. Government forces have been battling the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the region since 4 November. The UN team was reportedly trying to visit a camp for Eritrean refugees on Sunday when the shooting occurred. A US official and other diplomatic sources have backed accusations that Eritrean soldiers are fighting alongside Ethiopian troops to help Abiy Ahmed’s government in the war on the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), complicating an already dangerous conflict. The claims made to Reuters, which interviewed several unidentified diplomats in the region and a US official, follow mounting allegations by Tigrayan leaders that Eritrea, long a rival of Ethiopia, had joined with Ethiopian forces against a common enemy despite denials from both nations. According to some accounts, thousands of Eritrean troops have joined the conflict during the last month of fighting, while Tigrayan forces have admitted rocketing the Eritrean capital, Asmara.