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Radio France Internationale
Radio France Internationale

WHO chief says uncle was murdered by Eritrean troops in Tigray

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization. AP - Salvatore Di Nolfi

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, has said his uncle was "murdered" by Eritrean troops in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region.

Speaking at a press conference with the UN correspondents' association on Wednesday, Tedros revealed he had been on the verge of cancelling the event after being informed that his uncle was "murdered by the Eritrean army".

Tedros said: "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."

The WHO chief added that his uncle "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," he said.

Ceasefire deal

Ethiopia's government and Tigrayan rebels signed a ceasefire deal on 2 November, after two years of fighting that has brought widespread human misery.

The conflict has 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 2 December, Tedros raised concerns for areas still under the control of troops from neighbouring Eritrea.

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