1. Video content

    Video caption: Tedros Ghebreyesus: 'I don't know even who is dead or who is alive'

    WHO boss Tedros Ghebreyesus says he is struggling to send money to his starving family in Ethiopia's war-torn Tigray region.

  2. WHO boss unable to send money to starving Tigrayan kin

    The World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus has lamented that he was unable to send money to his starving relatives in Ethiopia's Tigray region.

    Dr Tedros, an ethnic Tigrayan, said the region has remained completely sealed off for two years since the beginning of the conflict and people were suffering.

    "I have many relatives there. I want to send them money. I cannot send them money. They're starving, I know, I cannot help them," Dr Tedros said.

    "I don't know even who is dead or who is alive," he said as he was unable to speak to them.

    Here is a video excerpt from the briefing:

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    The conflict, which began in November 2020, has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians and left millions in need of food aid.

    The region has been without basic services such as electricity, telecommunications and banking.

    Fighting resumed this week after months of calm following the humanitarian truce agreed in March between Tigrayan forces and the Ethiopian government.

  3. Tigray forces deny stealing WFP fuel in Ethiopia

    A convoy of WFP trucks in Ethiopia - June 2022
    Image caption: Petrol is needed by the WFP to deliver life-saving food aid across Tigray

    The authorities in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray have denied a UN allegation that its forces stole fuel from a World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse.

    WFP head David Beasley said it had happened on Wednesday, the day fighting broke out again following the humanitarian truce agreed in March between Tigrayan forces and the Ethiopian government.

    “A group of armed men entered WFP’s compound in Mekelle and forcibly seized 12 tankers filled with over half a million litres of fuel. This fuel had recently been purchased by WFP and arrived just days before it was stolen,” he said.

    But Tigray’s regional government called his comments “incendiary” and said it was taking back 600,000 litres of fuel it had loaned to the WFP a few months ago.

    “It simply demanded that it be paid back in accordance with the agreement we had,” its statement said.

    “The fuel will be used to run basic services, such as hospitals, clinics and other health facilities across Tigray that have been looted, and damaged by the invading forces."

    The Tigrayan statement added that it hoped the misunderstanding could be resolved: “We remain committed to co-operating with humanitarian partners as they work hard to address the catastrophic humanitarian crisis raging in Tigray. In this spirit, we are ready to resolve all outstanding issues in discussion with WFP officials.”

    UN chief António Guterres has expressed his shock at the resurgence of fighting as in recent months there had been positive signs that peace talks were imminent.

    The conflict, which began in November 2020 in Tigray, has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians and left millions in need of food aid and the region has been without basic services such as electricity, telecommunications and banking.

    Both sides have blamed each other for igniting the new clashes, which can be heard in the town of Kobo near Tigray’s border in Amhara region.

    One female resident of Kobo told the BBC: “The fighting is approximately 20km [12 miles] away from us .We are hearing sounds of heavy weaponry. It can still be heard. The war has been escalated. An additional defence force is entering the area.’’

    Tigrayan spokesperson Getachew Reda accused the government of sending “rag-tag militias” to the front to provoke the fighting, saying hostilities were not in Tigray’s interests.

    “We were counting on the international community to help open up the blockade and break the siege imposed on the people of Tigray. We need humanitarian aid for our people, we need medicines - we need everything for our people. If anything we are the last people to start fighting at this point in time,” he told BBC Focus on Africa radio.

    Asked if he had a message for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, he replied: “He cannot fight his way out of the crisis… He definitely risks the disintegration of the Ethiopian state.”

    Mr Getachew said the Tigrayan government was happy to sit around a negotiating table as along as there was “unfettered humanitarian access” to Tigray and the constitutional status of Tigray was guaranteed.

    “Then the rest will be a question of give and take. We are more than ready to live with any government as long as this basic minimum of Tigrayan people’s right to self-determination is fully observed.”

    The BBC has requested a response from the government in Addis Ababa.

  4. Video content

    Video caption: Ethiopia civil war: Why has fighting returned to northern Ethiopia?

    BBC's Kalkidan Yibeltal explains what lies behind the renewed violence in northern Ethiopia.

  5. WFP accuses Tigray forces of looting fuel

    Displaced people in Ethiopia
    Image caption: Rebel forces agreed to a truce in March to allow aid deliveries

    The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has said Tigrayan forces in northern Ethiopia have looted a million litres of fuel from its warehouses in Tigray’s capital, Mekelle, that was meant to be used to deliver aid.

    Tigrayan forces have not responded to the accusations which come after fresh fighting broke out on Wednesday for the first time in several months.

    The UN and the US have urged Ethiopian troops and the Tigrayan forces to restore a humanitarian truce.

    UN chief António Guterres said he was shocked by the resurgence in fighting, while the US expressed concern that renewed clashes could jeopardise progress made over the past five months.

    The chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, also called for the "immediate cessation of hostilities" and urged the warring sides to resume talks.

    The conflict, which began in November 2020 in Tigray, has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians and left millions in need of food aid.

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  6. Tigray forces deny plane was shot down

    The Tigrayan authorities have responded to the statements from the Ethiopian federal government alleging that a plane carrying weapons for Tigray had been attacked.

    In one version of the story, the defence ministry said that the plane had been coming from Sudanese airspace and had been shot down.

    In response Getachew Reda, the adviser to the Tigrayan leader, described the federal government as "clowns".

    They "are making up stories about planes carrying weapons to Tigray and one of them being shot down by their Air Force. It’s a blatant lie!"

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    In a statement, the Tigrayan authorities said: "No plane entered Tigray; nor was an imaginary plane shot down."

  7. UN chief shocked by resumption of Ethiopia fighting

    UN Secretary General António Guterres has called for "an immediate cessation of hostilities" as fighting resumed in Ethiopia's civil war in the north of the country after a five-month lull.

    "I am deeply shocked and saddened by the news of the resumption of hostilities in Ethiopia... My strong appeal is... for the resumption of peace talks between the government and the TPLF [Tigray People's Liberation Front] with, at the same time, the full guarantee of humanitarian access to people in need and the re-establishment of public services," Mr Guterres said.

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    The conflict, which began in November 2020 in Tigray, has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians and left millions in need of food aid.

    In recent months there had been positive signs that peace talks were imminent. But the progress is now in jeopardy, says the BBC's Kalkidan Yibeltal in Ethiopia.

  8. Tigray-bound weapons plane shot down - Ethiopia media

    We previously reported the statement from the security adviser to Ethiopia's prime minister that a plane was shot at in the Tigrayan capital, Mekelle, while weapons were being unloaded.

    Ethiopian state media has a different version of the story.

    In a tweet quoting the ministry of defence, EBC says that the plane was shot down after entering Ethiopian airspace from Sudan.

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    In subsequent tweets, the EBC appears to be citing a government statement blaming the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which it calls a terrorist organisation, for the resumption of fighting

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    There has been a civil war in Ethiopia between Tigrayan forces and the federal government since November 2020. There had been a lull in fighting recently as both sides observed a humanitarian truce.

  9. Ethiopia says it targeted plane in Tigray

    Kalkidan Yibeltal

    BBC News, Addis Ababa

    Ethiopia says it has hit an aeroplane in Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray region.

    It said weapons were being unloaded from the aircraft.

    In a tweet on Wednesday, the prime minister's senior security advisor Redwan Hussien said the plane belonged to Ethiopia’s "historical enemies known for working consistently to weaken" the country, without saying who he meant.

    There has been no independent confirmation of the claim and Tigrayan forces have not responded.

  10. Ethiopia and Tigray trade blame over fresh fighting

    Kalkidan Yibeltal

    BBC News, Addis Ababa

    Map of Ethiopia

    The Ethiopian government has blamed Tigrayan forces for starting fresh fighting along the region’s borders.

    The government’s communications office says they have breached a humanitarian truce that has been in place since March.

    The statement comes after the Tigrayans accused the government of launching attacks on their southern positions from neighbouring Amhara on Wednesday morning.

    The trading of accusations makes it clear that after months of a lull, the two sides are now engaged in active fighting.

    Addis Ababa’s statement added that the army and security forces were responding to the attacks “successfully”.

    The latest developments are feared to worsen a humanitarian crisis that has blighted the Horn of African country since the start of the war in late 2020.

  11. Tigray forces accuse Ethiopia of fresh offensive

    Kalkidan Yibeltal

    BBC News, Addis Ababa

    Ethiopian troops on patrol
    Image caption: The 21-month-old war has triggered a humanitarian crisis

    Tigrayan forces in northern Ethiopia say the federal army has launched a new offensive against them.

    In a statement, the Tigrayans said there had been a fresh wave of attacks on Wednesday morning along the region's southern border with Amhara.

    Addis Ababa has not yet responded to the accusations.

    An increase in tensions over the past two weeks is threatening to undo a humanitarian truce reached between the two sides in March.

    The war - which broke out in November 2020 - has seen the killings of tens of thousands of civilians.

  12. Ugandan president's son in Ethiopia

    Patricia Oyella

    BBC News, Kampala

    Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba with Rwanda's President Paul Kagame
    Image caption: Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba (R) recently met Rwanda's President Paul Kagame

    The son of Uganda's president is in Ethiopia on a working visit, Uganda's foreign affairs ministry has confirmed.

    General Muhoozi Kainerugaba has in the past tweeted in support of Tigrayan rebels, but the Ugandan army told the BBC in July that it was his personal opinion and not the position of the army.

    Local media reports say he is expected to meet Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

    Gen Kainerugaba has in recent months been dispatched by President Yoweri Museveni to Rwanda to help resolve long-standing tensions between the two countries that had led to the closure of a common border for three years.

    He was also dispatched in June this year to meet outgoing Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to deliver a special message.

    Gen Kainerugaba’s increasing diplomatic engagement is viewed by some as an attempt by long-serving President Museveni to groom his son to take over the presidency.

  13. Ukraine wheat will ease Ethiopia hunger - WFP

    Kalkidan Yibeltal

    BBC News, Addis Ababa

    Cereal grain
    Image caption: Grain has been difficult to source from Ukraine after the outbreak of the war there

    The World Food Programme (WFP) says 30,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat bought for its operations in Ethiopia is expected to arrive in neighbouring Djibouti next week.

    Claire Neville, the WFP’s spokesperson for Ethiopia, has told the BBC that the wheat will support the organisation’s efforts to feed millions of people affected by food insecurity as a result of protracted conflicts and severe drought.

    The food will support the body's operations across the country, where it aims to target 3.4 million people in the northern regions of Tigray, Afar and Amhara that that have been impacted by a brutal civil war that broke out 22 months ago, Ms Neville added.

    An additional 2.4 million people are expected to be reached in the eastern Somali region, where people have been hit by consecutive seasons of low rainfall.

    Read more: How much grain is being shipped from Ukraine?

  14. Starvation risk for 22 million in Horn of Africa - UN

    BBC World Service

    A woman looking out at arid land
    Image caption: Some residents of northern Kenya have told the BBC the drought was the worst they had ever seen

    The United Nations says that 22 million people in the Horn of Africa are at risk of starvation - a rise of nine million since the start of the year.

    The World Food Programme says the failure of four consecutive rainy seasons has pushed populations in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia to the brink of famine.

    More than a million people have left their homes in search of food and water.

    The WHO says the world must act now to prevent catastrophic hunger.

    An appeal for funds in January has faltered, with the war in Ukraine diverting donations and preventing normal grain shipments.

  15. Ethiopia seeks to privatise state-owned sugar mills

    Charles Gitonga

    BBC News

    Image caption: As it stands, the publicly owned sugar mills cannot meet local demand, the government says

    Ethiopian authorities have put eight state-owned sugar milling companies up for sale to private investors.

    In a statement by the Ministry of Finance, the government says the sale will enable those companies to meet local demand for sugar and cut imports.

    The Horn of Africa nation produces 1.35 million tonnes of sugar annually, which meets about 60% of local demand.

    With privatisation, the government hopes to reduce its reliance on imports at a time when the country has suffered a foreign currency crisis.

    Data from United Nations Comtrade shows the country spent $347 million (£293 million) on sugar imports in 2020.

    A bid to sell national telecommunications company, Ethiotelecom, was abruptly called off in March, with the government citing an "unfavourable global and local economic environment".

  16. Horn of Africa drought 'beyond imagination' - UK

    Richard Kagoe

    BBC News, Nairobi

    A child displaced by drought holds her nose as she walks past the rotting carcasses of goats that died from hunger and thirst on the outskirts of Dollow, Somalia.
    Image caption: The drought in Somalia has led to mass displacements

    The UK's Minister for Africa has issued a damning warning that the Horn of Africa is suffering it’s worst drought in decades with millions suffering its impact.

    “It’s beyond imagination,” says the minister, Vicky Ford.

    More than seven million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

    This has led to mass displacements as people trek for hundreds of kilometres in a desperate search for food and water.

    Four consecutive failed rainy seasons, armed conflict, rising food costs and the impact of Covid-19 are fuelling this enormous humanitarian crisis.

    The UK minister is now calling for partners and international donors to act urgently to prevent a large-scale loss of life.

    In Somalia alone, more than 380,000 children are considered severely malnourished and at risk of dying before the end of the year, according to Ms Ford.

    The UK government has committed to spend £150m ($178m) this year in humanitarian assistance in the Horn of Africa region. So far, £76m have been spent.

    Somalia is the worst affected country but millions more in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya are also suffering because of the drought.

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  17. Ethiopia civil war: Both sides trade accusations over talks

    Kalkidan Yibeltal

    BBC News, Addis Ababa

    Billene Seyoum, speaking for Ethiopia’s prime minister, has denied accusations by Tigrayan forces that they were being targeted by federal troops.

    On Wednesday, Tigrayan spokesperson Getachew Reda accused the government in Addis Ababa of undermining efforts to find a peaceful solution to the country’s civil war by “taking provocative actions against our forces”.

    But speaking to journalists on Thursday Ms Seyoum said the accusations were “deflections” and a way to avoid engaging in peace talks.

    Efforts to bring the warring parties together to end the 22-month conflict in Ethiopia’s north have reportedly shown progress in recent months. But in the past few days the two sides have exchanged strong words with the Tigrayan forces accusing the government of deliberately delaying talks.

    But Ms Billene said the government is “willing to engage anytime… and come to a conclusive agreement on an immediate ceasefire”.