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Ethiopia kicks out 7 UN officials amid pressure on blockade

Ethiopian government soldiers ride in the back of trucks on a road near Agula, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, on Saturday, May 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Ethiopian government soldiers ride in the back of trucks on a road near Agula, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, on Saturday, May 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Ethiopia says that it is kicking out seven United Nations officials and accuses them of “meddling in the internal affairs of the country,” as pressure grows on the government over its deadly blockade of its Tigray region.

A foreign ministry statement says that the officials must leave Ethiopia within 72 hours. They include five people with the UN humanitarian agency, one with the UN human rights office and the UNICEF representative in the country. The statement does not give details of their alleged interference.

The UN humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, this week told The Associated Press that the crisis in Ethiopia is a “stain on our conscience,” as children and others starve to death in the Tigray region under what the UN has called a de facto government blockade of food, medical supplies and fuel.

Ethiopia’s government has accused humanitarian workers of supporting the Tigray forces who have been fighting its soldiers and allied forces since November, which aid workers have denied. Thousands of people have been killed in the conflict.

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