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‘I came here to fight’: Video of 16-Year-Old Ethiopia’s Tigray Surfaces

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‘I came here to fight’: Video of 16-Year-Old Ethiopia’s Tigray Surfaces
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‘I came here to fight’: Video of 16-Year-Old Ethiopia’s Tigray Surfaces

The 16-year-old girl hoped to go to war. Inspired by the sight of resurgent local forces marching in to retake the capital of Ethiopia’s Tigray region six months after being forced to flee, Meron Mezgeb waited in a crowd seeking to get a gun and join them.

“I came here because I saw girls like me being raped” by combatants, she said. “I actually wanted to go (fight) at the beginning but I was told I was too young. But because I saw my comrades come, I came here to fight alongside them.”

The scenes of jubilation and determination in the city of Mekele, in video obtained by The Associated Press and smuggled out of Tigray days later, are a rare look at the dramatic turn in a conflict that has threatened to destabilize one of Africa’s most populous and powerful countries.

After months of fear in a city occupied by Ethiopian soldiers and forces from neighboring Eritrea who pursued the Tigray regional leaders, crowds of Mekele residents rushed to the local security bureau to sign up to fight.C

They were buoyed by the striking sight of a long parade of thousands of Ethiopian soldiers now held as prisoners of war, and by Tigray leaders walking openly in the city again. Residents lining the streets jeered the prisoners, and cheered their leaders.

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The Tigray leaders have rejected a unilateral cease-fire that Ethiopia’s government announced as its soldiers retreated from Mekele, and they have vowed to chase “enemies” out of the rest of the Tigray region. With the retreat of Ethiopian and Eritrean forces, that means fighting against forces from the neighboring Amhara region who seized large parts of western and southern Tigray during the eight-month war.

“The fighting will not be limited simply to the Tigray borders” if needed, the Tigray president, Debretsion Gebremichael, said in an interview. “We have to have some guarantee that they will not come back again.”

While the Tigray forces now control large areas, the region has remained largely cut off from the world, with transport and communications links severed or blocked. After months of looting and destruction that witnesses have blamed on Ethiopian and allied forces, the United Nations is still highly concerned about the fate of millions of civilians as food runs short amid famine conditions.

Only on Monday, days after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told the U.N. secretary-general that Tigray would be open to “immediate” aid, did the U.N. World Food Program announce that 50 trucks of badly needed supplies had rolled into Mekele. Two weeks had passed since such aid last arrived, and the WFP warned that “double this number of trucks needs to be moving in every day to meet the vast humanitarian needs in the region.”

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For residents, the U.N. convoy was a welcome sight. But the months of conflict mean a return to normal is still far away.

“I am a driver,” said Hiluf Abrha, another resident hoping to join the Tigray forces. “Because the Amhara forces committed a lot of atrocities, because they killed my uncle, I parked my truck and came here to register so that I can join the struggle.”

For the prisoners of war, many of whom the Tigray leaders have said will be released, conditions are challenging because of the destruction that Ethiopian and allied forces waged for months against almost all health centers across Tigray.
‘I came here to fight’: Video of 16-Year-Old Ethiopia’s Tigray Surfaces
‘I came here to fight’: Video of 16-Year-Old Ethiopia’s Tigray Surfaces

At a camp for the prisoners, soldiers lay on the ground, some trying to nurse injuries with little care available. “This is more than our capacity,” said Yusuf Ibrahim, medical coordinator for the Tigray forces. He called for more international aid.

“They can only do for us when they have something for themselves first. It is difficult for me to say they haven’t helped us, they have helped us as much as they can,” said one prisoner, Menor Arrarso, who said there was nothing to eat or wear.

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He showed his wounded hand and said he had walked more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) in that condition.

“They couldn’t provide us with transportation when we came here,” he said. “Two or three people died right here among us who could have been saved had we gone to our homes and gotten treatment. This is because here there is a lack of treatment.”

Another prisoner, Sewareg Bireda, agreed. Aside from the lack of food, “they don’t give us the necessary additional medicine, like painkillers. Apart from that, they are helping us as much as they can.”

More than 6,000 Ethiopian soldiers and officers had been detained, the Tigray president said.

“We are committed to keep them well as long as they are with us,” he said. “And after a while, yes, our plan is … they have to be free, wherever they want.”

But if evidence emerges that any prisoner had committed an atrocity in the war, he added, “we will keep them because they have to go to court.”

APNEWS

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Boris Johnson Warns World Leaders They Have 1000 Hours To Tackle Climate Change

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Boris Johnson Warns World Leaders They Have 1000 Hours To Tackle Climate Change
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Boris Johnson Warns World Leaders They Have 1000 Hours To Tackle Climate Change

He told them they face “the most important period in the history of the planet” as he prepares to get them to thrash out an agreement to save the world.

The PM faces an uphill struggle ahead of his summit as India, the US, China and dozens of our own allies are still failing to do enough to tackle climate change – or cough up enough cash to stop it.

Top experts slammed big beasts for dragging their heels in setting tough emissions targets to stop the planet changing beyond all recognition.

Mr Johnson turned his fire on his own pals in the G20, urging them “show the leadership the world needs” and “do our duty by others less fortunate than ourselves” to make his COP26 summit a roaring success.

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He told the Major Economies Forum yesterday they must come together with “rock solid commitments” to “protect our planet and protect humanity for a thousand years to come”.

And rich nations must “get serious about filling the $100billion pot that the developing world needs to do its bit”, he demanded, after it was revealed it was still $20billion short.

Boris Johnson Warns World Leaders They Have 1000 Hours To Tackle Climate Change

Experts at the UN said that the goals set so far this year will not close the emissions gap – meaning the world is likely to miss targets to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

Under countries’ current pledges, global emissions will be 16 per cent higher in 2030 than they were in 2010 – far off the 45 per cent reduction by 2030 that scientists say is needed to stave off disastrous and irreversible climate change.

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Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India and China were among a handful of countries rated “critically insufficient” or “highly insufficient” by a recent climate tracker.

Even the EU, Germany and Norway were rapped as not doing enough to meet the Paris agreement goals.

The PM and President Biden will twist arms at the UN General Assembly summit in New York next week, where climate change is expected to be the number one issue on the agenda for the UK, which is hosting the global summit.

The PM and climate tsar Alok Sharma have been rallying countries to raise cash and submit new plans in the run up to the summit, where 100 world leaders have said they will attend, but efforts have been hampered by big nations dragging their feet.

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Mr Sharma said yesterday the frank reports were a “stark reminder of how urgent our work is ahead of COP26”.

He stressed: “This is a clear wake-up call for all of us – we need to act.” Downing Street said the PM was “disappointed there hasn’t been as much progress recently as there should have been”.

The Prime Minister also set out that the UK will be among the first signatories of the Global Methane Pledge, a US-EU initiative to reduce global methane emissions by 30% by 2030 compared to levels during the 2020s.

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Taliban seize $12.4m from former top Afghan officials

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Taliban seize $12.4m from former top Afghan officials
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Taliban seize $12.4m from former top Afghan officials

Afghanistan’s Taliban-controlled central bank said it had seized nearly $12.4 million in cash and gold from former top government officials on Wednesday, including former vice president Amrullah Saleh.

In a statement, the central bank said the money and gold had been kept in officials’ houses, although it did not yet know for what purpose.

Saleh’s whereabouts are unknown.

He has vowed to resist the Taliban, who stormed to power a month ago, and last week a family member said the Taliban had executed his brother Rohullah Azizi.

In a separate statement, the bank urged Afghans to use the country’s local Afghani currency. It comes amid growing worries that the country’s banks and firms are running short of money, especially dollars, which are widely used.

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Taliban seize $12.4m from former top Afghan officials

In a sign that the Taliban are looking to recoup assets belonging to former government officials, the central bank issued a circular to local banks last week asking them to freeze the accounts of politically exposed individuals linked to the previous government, two commercial bankers said.

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‘Okonjo-Iweala knows how to get things done,’ Prince Harry, Meghan praise WTO boss

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'Okonjo-Iweala knows how to get things done,' Prince Harry, Meghan praise WTO boss
Okonjo Iweala
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‘Okonjo-Iweala knows how to get things done,’ Prince Harry, Meghan praise WTO boss

The list of influential figures cut across icons, pioneers, titans, artists, leaders, and innovators.

American news magazine, Time, has named Nigeria’s former minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was named alongside world leaders like United States President, Joe Biden, and Chinese President, Xi Jinping, in Time’s September 15 publication.

She tweeted moments after the publication that she was ‘honored and privileged’ to have made the cover of the magazine.

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In an appraisal penned by Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, they applauded her role in campaigning for equitable vaccine access across the world.

The Archewell founders noted that the world’s hope to defeat COVID-19 through vaccines rests on the shoulders of leaders like Okonjo-Iweala.

‘Okonjo-Iweala knows how to get things done,’ Prince Harry, Meghan praise WTO boss

“Our conversations with her have been as informative as they are energising.

“This is partly because, despite the challenges, she knows how to get things done—even between those who don’t always agree—and does so with grace and a smile that warms the coldest of rooms,” the Duke and Duchess wrote.

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Okonjo-Iweala made history in March when she officially started her tenure as the WTO DG, the first woman and first African to do so.

“Vaccine inequity is the most important issue to tackle right now in this pandemic because it determines how we’re going to recover globally, and how many lives we save.

“With the variants that are mutating and the number of people dying, it is unacceptable that when you have the technology to save lives, some people don’t have access,” the 67-year-old told Time.

Wednesday’s list also had names of leaders like U.S. vice president, Kamala Harris, Indian president, Narendra Modi, as well as influential figures like Elon Musk, Tim Cook, Dolly Parton, and the Duke and Duchess themselves.

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The list of influential figures cut across icons, pioneers, titans, artists, leaders, and innovators.

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