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The UN Can Publicly Confirm the TPLF’s Looting in Wollo… But It Hasn’t. Again.

Jeff Pearce

A leaked internal UN Security Update from Monday, December 6, paints a very different picture of the TPLF’s humiliating retreat from Dessie and Kombolcha than the one Getachew Reda is trying to sell online. And it also raises the question again of how long the UN will hide specific details of the TPLF abusing its staff and looting its supplies.

TPLF official Getachew Reda tried to put a brave face on his forces’ pull-out by tweeting on December 6, “We left #NorthShoa, #kombolcha & #Dessie as part of our plan. There was no organized unit to ‘liberate’ these towns and the residents know it & #Abiy’s generals know it. Things are going according to our plan. The rest is just circus.”

It also debunks Lieutenant General (retired) Tadesse Werede’s rosy picture of the TPLF’s progress, and his claims that the “territorial adjustment was done voluntarily.”

But the UN’s Daily Security Update offers a different picture. Though its incidents are rattled off in a peculiar list out of chronological order as if events are seemingly unconnected, one can draw the inference of what unfolded as the TPLF rushed to evacuate. On Saturday, December 4, “it was reported that an unknown amount of food continued to be looted from the UN and INGO warehouse in Kombolcha town in South Wello zone.” Continued is an interesting choice of word, and it’s also notable that no perpetrator is identified. But that same day, “UN staff members were reportedly intimidated & harassed by TF troops at one of the WFP warehouses in Kombolcha town of South Wello zone.”

The update cites “armed clashes” the next day in “Kombolcha town, Kalu woreda of South Wello zone.” That same Sunday, December 5, “an unknown number” of TPLF troops “with logistics [sic] were pulling out from Kombolcha via Dessie heading to the North.”

By Monday, when Getachew Reda boasted how things were going according to the TPLF’s plan, the UN Department of Safety and Security was telling its staff that on Sunday, “UN staff members were reportedly intimidated & harassed by TF troops in the UN compound in Dessie town of South Wello zone. The TF troops were reportedly requesting to take the UN vehicles for the troop’s evacuation. However, they did not take the vehicle.”

As for Getachew’s claim over what the residents of Dessie “know” about liberation, even the UN acknowledged, “After government forces retook the town, celebrations were reported in the streets.”

But we are still left to wonder about the UN’s conduct. On the day this Daily Security Update was issued internally to staff, the UN reprinted on the OCHA’s website the joint statement by several Western countries on detentions. Why is it that the UN feels entitled to pass along criticisms of Ethiopia while not publicizing blatant crimes committed against its own staff and resources by the TPLF?

Why is it that the UN does not even set the factual record straight over what we can infer was a rushed evacuation of the terrorists with looting on the day before they fled?

And why is it that the UN continues to play this “double game” of cooperating with the TPLF and even sacrificing its staff to assaults and detention while posing as an impartial international body?

Jeff Pearce

Writer person. Books – Prevail, The Karma Booth, Gangs in Canada; in June 2021, Winged Bull, a bio of Henry Layard, the Victorian era’s Indiana Jones.

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