Mekele -A new air raid against the Tigrayan capital of Mekele was launched by Ethiopia’s military on Wednesday, marking the second shelling of the city this week against objectives of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. It is the most significant escalation in the almost year-long struggle in northern Ethiopia, which pits government forces and their supporters against the TPLF, which was once Tigray’s major ruling party, and their allies.
A spokeswoman for the administration acknowledged the current strike. According to Legesse Tulu, the chief of the Government Communication Service, the attack was directed at “TPLF-controlled facilities that have been converted into arms manufacturing and repair weaponry sites.” It was not immediately clear whether any civilians had been killed or injured as a result of the hit, which was reported by the TPLF as well as humanitarian and diplomatic sources and a local resident.
Residents told AFP that it was “heavy” and that “the jet was so close.” They also said that it had wrecked an industrial location in the city. The whole complex has been consumed. We don’t know how many people died, but the entire organization has been reduced to ashes.” It appears that the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is launching a new onslaught against the TPLF, which had dominated national politics for over three decades before he came to power in December of 2018.
There have already been uncountable deaths and a severe humanitarian crisis, with the United Nations estimating that up to two million people have been displaced and hundreds of thousands have been forced to live in famine-like conditions. As stated by TPLF spokesperson Getachew Reda, the raid on Wednesday targeted a residential area of Mekele, “resulting in the injury of citizens and the destruction of property.”
According to Abiy’s Twitter account, “in response to his losses in the present combat, Abiy has switched his attention to civilians hundreds of kilometers away from the conflict.” Two air strikes were carried out in Mekele on Monday by Ethiopia’s air force, which has been under the control of the TPLF since it was seized from government forces in June. The United Nations reported on Tuesday that the raids had resulted in the deaths of three children and the injuries of nine others. According to Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “the fighting is intensifying at an alarming rate” (OCHA).
“In addition, we would like to remind all parties to the conflict of their responsibility under international humanitarian law to protect people and civilian infrastructure,” the statement continued. After first dismissing claims of air strikes against the TPLF as “total lies,” state media later admitted that the military had targeted TPLF media and communications targets on Monday.
The violence began in November 2018 when Abiy Ahmed, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, dispatched troops to Tigray in an attempt to overthrow the TPLF. In reaction to TPLF raids on federal army camps, he stated that the move was necessary and vowed a fast victory. However, by late June, the TPLF had regrouped and retaken control of the majority of the region, including Mekele, marking a significant shift in the conflict’s course. Rebels have advanced south from Tigray into the neighboring provinces of Amhara and Afar in the intervening time period. According to the United Nations, up to seven million people in the three regions are currently in need of food assistance and other forms of humanitarian assistance.