World Food Programme suspends distribution of food aid in Ethiopia

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The World Food Programme has suspended distribution of food aid in two northern Ethiopian towns after gunmen looted its warehouses.

The United Nations has said looters from rebel Tigrayan forces held aid staff at gunpoint in the town of Kombolcha, adding that they stole large quantities of essential food supplies, including some for malnourished children.

Northern Ethiopia is facing mass starvation amid an ongoing civil war between Tigrayan and government forces.

After more than a year of fighting, more than nine million people are in need of critical food supplies in the Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions.

A spokesman for the United Nations, which runs the World Food Programme, said its staff there had faced intimidation.

The spokesman also accused military personnel of commandeering three humanitarian trucks belonging to World Food Programme and using them for their own purposes.