Air raids targeting Tigray leave three civilians dead

Market in Ethiopia Market in Ethiopia Erik Hathaway on Unsplash

18 October 2021

Three people have died after air raids hit Tigray’s capital, Mekelle, following months of peace

After several months of peace, air raids have hit Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray region in Ethiopia, killing at least three people according to witnesses. Ethiopia’s government initially dismissed the reports, but state media later confirmed that the air force had struck media and communications equipment used by the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), stating that “measures to prevent civilian casualties during the air strikes were taken successfully.”

A spokesperson for the Tigray authorities, Kindeya Gebrehiwot, told the Associated Press that a market was bombed on a busy shopping day, wounding many people. Another resident anonymously said that the first air strike happened just outside the city and three children from the same family were killed, while at least seven people were wounded in the second attack.

The TPLF said that the aerial attacks were designed to inflict civilian casualties and that the fact that the attack took place on Monday, which is market day in Mekelle, meant that “the intention is all too palpable”. Ethiopia’s foreign ministry alleged that the rebels themselves had “launched widescale unwarranted attacks against civilians.”

Conflict between the TPLF and the Ethiopian federal government began last November and has killed thousands of people and forced more than two million to flee their homes. UN chief Antonio Guterres said he was  “deeply concerned” about the escalation in conflict and called for all sides to avoid targeting civilians. Likewise, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price urged all parties to immediately end hostilities and enter into negotiations towards a sustainable ceasefire.


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Author: Irina Kovacevic; Editor: Catherine Meunier



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