Ethiopia accuses WHO chief of backing native Tigray’s leaders

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) – Ethiopia’s Army Chief yesterday accused World Health Organization (WHO) boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – the country’s highest-profile Tigrayan abroad – of lobbying for and seeking to arm leaders in the conflict-torn dissident region.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed unleashed a military campaign against the northern region on November 4 with the declared aim of unseating its ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which he accuses of defying his government and seeking to destabilise it.

Army Chief Berhanu Jula told a press conference that Tedros, who served as Minister of Health under TPLF leader Meles Zenawi, was “a part of that team”, referring to the party.

“He has worked in neighbouring countries to condemn the war. He has worked for them to get weapons,” said Berhanu.

He said Tedros had “left no stone unturned” to help the TPLF, the party Abiy said he is targetting in a military offensive in the region.

“What do you expect from him? We don’t expect he will side with the Ethiopian people and condemn them,” he said.

Tedros has yet to respond to the accusation.

The 55-year-old was appointed as the first African head of the WHO in 2017 and has become a household name as he grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. He has been ranked as one of Time magazine’s most influential people.