Citing local authorities and witnesses, two aid workers told Reuters that an air strike in the Tigray region of Ethiopia killed 56 people and injured 30 people, including children.
Getachew Reda, a spokesperson for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) fighting the central government, said in a tweet on Saturday: [Prime Minister] Abiy Ahmed at IDP [internally displaced people] So far, Dedebit’s camp has claimed the lives of 56 innocent civilians. “
Another ruthless drone attack #Abiahmad in a #IDP camping #debit So far, 56 innocent civilians have been killed.The saddest part of the story is that the victim is a displaced person #WesternTigray Because of the regime’s genocide movement. The worst double danger!
— Getachew K Reda (@reda_getachew) January 8, 2022
Rescuers said that the attack occurred in the town of Dedebit in the northwest of the region near the Eritrean border. It happened late Friday night and they did not want to be named because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Military spokesman Colonel Getnet Adane and government spokesman Legesse Tulu did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Prime Minister Abi Ahmed’s spokesperson Bilin Seyoum did not respond to a request for comment.
The government previously denied targeting civilians in a 14-month conflict with the rebellious Tigray army.
Earlier Friday, the government had Released several opposition leaders He also stated that he would start a dialogue with the political opposition to promote reconciliation.
Both rescuers said that local authorities confirmed the death toll in the airstrike on Friday. Rescuers sent to Reuters what they said they had taken pictures of the wounded in the hospital, including many children.
One of the rescuers visited Shire Suhul General Hospital, where the wounded were treated. He said that the camp accommodated many elderly women and children.
“They told me that the bomb came at midnight. It was completely dark and they couldn’t escape,” the rescuer said.
One of the rescuers said that 75-year-old Asefa Gebrehaworia, a wounded in the raid on Friday, burst into tears as he recounted how his friend was killed. He is being treated for injuries to his left leg and hand.
The fighting forced Asefa to leave his home, and now the airstrikes have destroyed the camp. Although he faces starvation, at least he has a shelter, he told rescuers. He came to the camp for the displaced from the border town of Humela.
According to a document prepared by aid agencies and shared with Reuters this week, before the latest attack, at least 146 people were killed and 213 injured in airstrikes in Tigray since October 18.
In Friday’s reconciliation operation, the government released opposition leaders from several ethnic groups. They include some leaders of TPLF.
TPLF expressed doubts about Abiy’s call for national reconciliation.
Its spokesperson Getaqiu said on Twitter on Friday: “Faced with his self-righteous claims, his daily practice of refusing to provide medicines to helpless children and launching drones at civilians is disappointing.”
TPLF accused the federal authorities of imposing an aid blockade on the area, causing starvation and shortages of essential supplies such as fuel and medicine. The government denied that it prevented the aid convoy from passing.
The EU stated that although the release of the opposition leader is a positive move, it is concerned about the ongoing conflict in Tigray, citing the recent air strikes.
The EU said in a statement issued by its high representative for foreign affairs Josep Borrell: “All parties must seize the opportunity to quickly end the conflict and engage in dialogue.”
According to Teklay Gebremichael of the tghat.com website that records war crimes, the release of prisoners is Abiy’s “trick” to appease the international community.
“I think it’s important to see the release of political prisoners in the right context,” Gebriemichael told Al Jazeera.
“In the past few months, tens of thousands of Tigray and Omoros have been imprisoned in Addis Ababa alone. About six or seven people were released yesterday, [Abiy] Trying to create a positive environment around him and create a trick to the international community to make him interested in negotiations and peaceful resolution of conflicts, when in fact he continues to do what he has been doing-bombing civilians and trying to enter the project militarily. Gray. “
This brutal conflict has caused tens of thousands of deaths and is marked by a series of incidents. abuse, Including massacres and rapes. What followed was a serious humanitarian crisis, with millions of people displaced and in need of assistance.