Ethiopia Air Strike Kills 56 in Tigray

No fewer than 56 people were killed and 30 injured during an airstrike on a camp for displaced people in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region, two aid workers have said.

Government officials have previously denied targeting civilians during the fourteen-month conflict with rebellious Tigrayan forces.

TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda tweeted that a drone attack by Abiy Ahmed on an IDP (internally displaced people) camp in Dedebit had claimed the lives of 56 civilians so far.

The tweet read, “Another callous drone attack by Abiy Ahmed in an IDP (Internally Displaced People) camp in Dedebit has claimed the lives of 56 innocent civilians so far.”

According to aid workers who asked not to be named due to their inability to speak to the media, the strike in Dedebit, near the border with Eritrea, occurred late on Friday night.

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On Friday, the government freed several opposition leaders from prison and announced it was fostering reconciliation with political opponents through dialogue. 

According to both aid workers, the local authorities confirmed the number of dead. 

The aid workers also sent images of wounded patients in hospitals, including a number of children, according to a report.

It added that the attacked camp hosts many old women and children.

“They told me the bombs came at midnight. It was completely dark and they couldn’t escape,” the aid worker said.

In November 2020, federal troops went to war with rebellious Tigrayan forces. There have been reports of atrocities committed by all sides in the war, which the parties have denied.

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A document prepared by aid agencies shows that at least 146 people have been killed and 213 injured in air strikes in Tigray since Oct. 18.

Several ethnic groups’ opposition leaders were freed in the government’s reconciliation move on Friday. Among them were some TPLF leaders.

The U.S. government said Abiy told its outgoing special envoy for the region, Jeffrey Feltman, how he planned to move towards national reconciliation.

The EU, however, expressed concern over the ongoing conflict in Tigray.

“All parties must seize the moment to swiftly end the conflict and enter into dialogue,” the bloc said in a statement issued by its high representative for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell.

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The TPLF expressed scepticism about Abiy’s call for national reconciliation.

“His daily routine of denying medication to helpless children and of sending drones targeting civilians flies in the face of his self-righteous claims,” its spokesman Getachew tweeted on Friday.

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