WHO chief says uncle killed by Eritrean troops in Ethiopia’s war-torn Tigray region
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says relative was one of roughly 50 ‘murdered’ a month after Ethiopia’s government and Tigrayan rebels agreed to limited ceasefire
GENEVA — Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, said Wednesday that his uncle had been “murdered” by Eritrean troops in Ethiopia’s war-torn northern Tigray region.
Tedros held a press conference with the UN correspondents’ association on Wednesday. At the very end, he revealed he had been on the verge of cancelling the event “because it was a difficult moment for me.”
“I was informed that my uncle was murdered by the Eritrean army,” he told reporters.
“I spoke to my mother and she was really devastated, because he was the youngest from their family and he was almost the same age as me, a young uncle.
“So I was not in good shape.”
“He was not alone. In the village, when they killed him in his home, from the same village more than 50 people were killed. Just arbitrary.”
“I hope the peace agreement will hold and this madness would stop.”
Tedros, 57, said he was glad he went ahead with the press conference.
Ethiopia’s government and Tigrayan rebels signed a ceasefire deal on November 2, after two years of fighting that brought widespread human misery.
The conflict caused an untold number of deaths, forced more than two million people from their homes and drove hundreds of thousands to the brink of famine.
But the ceasefire makes no mention of the presence on Ethiopian soil or any possible withdrawal of Eritrean troops, who have backed Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s forces and been accused of atrocities.
Tedros hails from Tigray, and the former Ethiopian health and foreign minister has repeatedly called for peace and for unfettered aid access to the region.
At a press conference on December 2, Tedros raised concerns for areas still under the control of troops from neighbouring Eritrea.