Tigray troops say airstrikes hit Mek’ele in Ethiopia, government denies

File Photo: On July 1, 2021, a tank damaged during the battle between the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) and the Tigray Special Forces stands on the outskirts of the town of Humera in Ethiopia. REUTERS / Stringer / File Photo

October 18, 2021

Nairobi (Reuters) -The rebellious Northern Ethiopian army has accused the government of launching an air bombing in the capital of the Tigray region on Monday, although the government denied the report.

Tigrai TV, which is controlled by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the northern region, said the attack on the city of Mek’ele killed several civilians.

City residents told Reuters that a strike had occurred near the market behind the hotel. Relief workers and doctors in the area also said there was an attack, and diplomats shared photos of the aftermath of what they said, such as blood pools and broken windows.

Everyone asked not to give it a name. Reuters could not confirm the authenticity of the image.

Ethiopian government spokesman Legesse Tulu denied the launch of the attack. “Why does the Ethiopian government attack its own city? Mek’ele is an Ethiopian city,” he said.

“Terrorists attack cities with innocent civilians, not governments,” Leges added. He accused the TPLF of killing civilians in combat in neighboring areas.

Reuters was unable to verify accounts in areas where journalists are off limits.

“I was a few meters away”

In November, a war broke out between the Ethiopian army and TPLF, the political party that controls the region, in Tigray, killing thousands and forcing more than two million to flee.

Initially beaten, Tigrinya troops regained much of the region in July, pushing it into the neighboring Amharic and Afar regions and expelling hundreds of thousands more.

A week ago, Tigrinya troops said the army launched a ground attack to expel them from Amharic. The army admitted that there was a fierce battle there on Thursday, but accused the Tigrinya army of initiating it.

On Monday, Mek’ele residents told Reuters that one of Monday’s strikes hit near the market behind the city’s Planet Hotel around noon (0900 GMT).

“I was a few meters away, I thought they had attacked our compound,” the resident said.

Doctors in the area said they heard the first attack on Monday morning. “First, I heard the sound of a jet and an explosion from a distance.

“Then there was another sound in the afternoon, it looked closer. This seemed to have happened in the city,” said the doctor.

TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda referred to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and tweeted that “# Abiy Ahmed’s” Air Force “sent bombers to attack civilian targets inside and outside #Mekelle.”

Diplomats are worried that the new fighting will further destabilize Ethiopia, a country of 109 million people, and deepen hunger in Tigray and its surrounding areas.

(Report by Addis Ababa Newsroom, edited by Allison Williams and Andrew Havens)

Tigray troops say airstrikes hit Mek’ele in Ethiopia, government denies

Source link Tigray troops say airstrikes hit Mek’ele in Ethiopia, government denies

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