The UN Population Fund has dismissed its Ethiopia boss, the agency announced on Tuesday. This marks the second such departure this month after an explosive interview in which both officials complained about being sidelined by UN superiors who they claimed sympathized with the Tigra rebels.
< p> The departure of Dennia Gayle, UNFPA country representative, risks shaking Ethiopia’s response last month to expel seven other high-ranking UN officials for allegedly “meddling” in its affairs.
< p> On Monday, Maureen Achieng, the Ethiopia head of the UN Migration Agency, was recalled and put on administrative leave because of the same interview, the audio of which surfaced online last week.
The two women are criticizing in the recordings Colleagues who came to Ethiopia after the outbreak of war last November between government troops and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Achieng insults the TPLF Tigray as “dirty” and “vicious” and vows never to return to Ethiopia.
Gayl says newly arrived emergency coordinators bypassed senior UN officials in Addis Ababa to go directly to UN headquarters and agrees with the interviewer postulated idea that this reflects “a power struggle within the UN.”
A UNFPA spokesman said on Tuesday that the agency’s Ethiopia envoy “after New York was called back “.
” The operator, whose voice can be heard in the audio recordings, expressed personal views and opinions. not that of UNFPA, “which is bound by standards of independence and neutrality, added the spokesman.
” Management is deeply concerned and this matter is currently being dealt with in accordance with our internal rules and regulations. “< / p>
The 11-month-old war has spread to the neighboring regions of Afar and Amhara and, according to UN estimates, has driven hundreds of thousands into starvation-like conditions.
The government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has accused the international community of ignoring abuses of the TPLF and denying allegations by the UN and the US that Tigray is in fact under humanitarian blockade.
At the end of September, Ethiopia announced the expulsion of seven senior UN officials, including local heads of the Children’s Fund and the Humanitarian Aid Coordination Office, and accused them of “meddling”.
Abiy spokeswoman Billene Seyoum says te on Twitter Tuesday that the UN’s decision to take Achieng on administrative leave “for telling the blatant truth about institutional bias within the @UN system and” regarding the #TerroristTP The crime of LF was profound worrying “.
Fears that fighting will intensify again comes from the TPLF of the northern region of Amhara.
Ethiopian officials have not confirmed the new offensive, despite Billene said that the government has “a responsibility to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks in all parts of the country”.