New Airstrikes Target Capital of Ethiopia’s Tigray Region

Ethiopian forces have carried out another airstrike on the capital city of the northern Tigray region Wednesday, two days after an airstrike killed three children there.

United Nations spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters Tuesday that one other person was killed in the airstrike on the outskirts of Mekelle. Haq said nine people were reportedly injured in a second airstrike in Mekelle later that day that also damaged a number of houses and a nearby hotel.

The spokesman said the U.N.’s colleagues “are alarmed at the intensification of the conflict and once again remind all parties to the conflict of their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

The Ethiopian government initially denied launching Monday’s attacks, but the state-run Ethiopian Press Agency later acknowledged the airstrikes and said they targeted communications infrastructure.

“Action [was taken] against media and equipment used by the TPLF [Tigray People’s Liberation Front] terrorists in Mekelle,” the press statement said. The TPLF is a former member of the coalition that ruled Ethiopia for more than 30 years. In May, Ethiopia designated the group a terrorist organization.

Getachew Reda, a TPLF spokesperson, accused Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, of being unwilling to end the conflict. “He has never been for peace, only the appropriate use of sticks can prod him into considering such a path. The #AirStrikeonCivilians in #Mekelle is proof positive that he will do everything to terrorize our people, especially when his forces are losing on the battlefield,” he said in a Twitter post Tuesday. “If people had illusions he could keep his promise to resolve the conflict peacefully, yesterday’s attack should make it clear that only sticks are effective.”

The Ethiopian federal government has been engaged in an armed conflict with fighters from the northern Tigray region for nearly a year.

Mekelle has not seen large-scale fighting since June, when Ethiopian forces withdrew from the area and Tigray forces retook control of most of the region. Following that, the conflict continued to spill into the neighboring regions of Amhara and Afar.

Last week, Tigray forces said the Ethiopian military had launched a ground offensive to push them out of Amhara.

Source: Voice of America