Panafrican News Agency

Ethiopian crisis: Ethiopia says its planes hit arms producing sites in Tigray region capital

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Ethiopia has admitted that its planes carried out air strikes on the capital of Tigray region, Makelle, on Wednesday, but said they were aimed at arms producing and repair sites being used by the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), whose troops have been fighting the federal government for nearly one year.

A statement by the government's "Ethiopia Current Issues Fact Check" posted by the state-owned Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) said: "Contrary to the misrepresentation, the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) air strikes this morning (Wednesday) have specifically targeted TPLF arms production/manufacturing and armament and armament repair sites.

"The ENDF’s surgical operations are aimed at destroying illegal caches of heavy weaponry and armaments at selected sites that the terrorist (TPLF) organisation has turned into military facilities."

This is the second time this week that the Ethiopian Defence Force has hit targets in Mekelle. Ethiopia initially denied involvement in the Monday air strikes but later admitted its planes were involved. Three people were said to have been killed.

The UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said on Monday that the Organization was worried about the potential impact of the air strikes on civilians who reside or work in the affected areas. 

According to him, the Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, was “deeply concerned” over the escalation of the conflict in northern Ethiopia. 

Fighting erupted in Tigray in November last year between the Ethiopian military and forces of the TPLF, the main political force in region.

Thousands are feared killed amidst allegations of widespread human rights abuses, with more than two million forced to flee their homes.

Over the past few months, humanitarian needs have grown, amid killings, looting and destruction of health centres and farming infrastructure, including irrigation systems that are vital to the production effort.

The fighting has spread to neighbouring Amhara and Afar and involved other bodies with human rights and humanitarian bodies blaming all sides of abuse.

In the three regions – Tigray, Amhara and Afar – up to seven million people are now in dire need of food assistance, according to the World Food Programme (WFP). The majority of them, around 5.2 million, are in Tigray. 

The UN is calling on all parties to urgently allow and facilitate the rapid and unimpeded passage of relief supplies and aid personnel, to all areas with humanitarian needs, including those affected by the recent fighting. 

-0- PANA MA 20Oct2021