WHO chief says his uncle was murdered by Eritrean troops in Ethiopia’s Tigray region


WHO chief says his uncle was murdered by Eritrean troops in Ethiopia

Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said that Eritrean troops “murdered” his uncle in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.


Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a former Ethiopian minister who comes from Tigray, has previously been a vocal critic of Ethopia’s role in the conflict that has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions.

In a deal brokered by Nigeria’s former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, the Ethiopian government and regional forces from Tigray agreed in November to cease hostilities last month in a major breakthrough.

However, troops from Eritrea, to the north, and forces from the neighbouring Ethiopian region of Amhara, to the south, who fought alongside Ethiopia’s military in Tigray were not party to the ceasefire.


In the closing minutes of a Geneva press briefing focused on COVID-19 on Wednesday, December 14, Tedros said that he nearly cancelled the event because he was “not in good shape” after hearing of his uncle’s “murder”.

“I hope that this (peace) agreement will hold and this madness will stop but it’s a very difficult moment for me,” Tedros told reporters, adding that more than 50 other people had been killed in the same incident. 

Asked for details of the incident on the sidelines of the event, Tedros said that his younger uncle whom he grew up with had been killed by Eritrean soldiers in a village in Tigray. He declined to give the location because he said he feared the village would be attacked.

This comes after the killing of his cousin last year in Tigray when a church was blown up, he said, without giving further details.

Despite the truce Eritrean forces have been looting towns, arresting and killing civilians in the towns they still control across the region.


The Ethopian government, which opposed Tedros’ second term as head of WHO, has accused him of trying to procure arms and diplomatic backing for rebel forces – charges he has denied.



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