UN sends its Ethiopia chief on leave

APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia

The UN’s migration agency has sent its Ethiopia chief on administrative leave, citing “unauthorized interviews” in which she complained of being sidelined by the organisation's higher-ups she claimed were sympathetic to rebels in Tigray.

The departure of Maureen Achieng, confirmed in a letter dated Monday and seen by APA, risks further undermining an aid response to the needy.

Last week, multiple recordings surfaced online of Achieng and another senior UN official granting a lengthy interview to Jeff Pearce.

In the recordings, Achieng, the International Organization for Migration’s Chief of Mission to Ethiopia, tears into colleagues who “descended on” Addis Ababa after the war broke out last November and, in her telling, sidelined officials on the ground.

She also calls the TPLF “dirty” and “vicious”. 

At one point she accuses the rebels of plotting to have Tigrayan migrant workers facing deportation from Saudi Arabia sent to Rwanda.

“And then you don’t know what guerrilla movement starts from Rwanda. I mean, it’s dirty,” she says. 

She also vows never to return to Tigray.

The departure of Achieng, confirmed in a letter dated Monday, risks further friction between the UN and the East African nation which last month expelled seven senior UN officials for alleged meddling in its affairs. 

The UN top officials defended the expelled workers without any probe into the allegations.


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