The Airstrike was targeting TPLF forces who were celebrating an event says Ethiopian Defense Force
After the Ethiopian election turned out to be a peaceful one, as witnessed by the African Union observer’s Mission, mainstream media in the west had to find something else with which they tarnish the image of Ethiopia.
Many of them published a story alleging that Ethiopian Air force carried out an airstrike targeting civilians in a marketplace called Togoga, which is said to be about twenty kilometers from Mekelle.
The reports claimed that about 64 people have been killed and 180 wounded.
Ethiopian Defense Force on Thursday dismissed the allegation about the killings of civilians during an air strike outside Mekelle saying that civilians were not targeted in airstrikes.
Colonel Getenet Adane, Ethiopian Defense Force Public Relations Director, said ” action has been taken against the junta’s terrorist group under the leadership of Migbe Haile which was getting together to celebrate Martyrs day.”
He confirmed that Ethiopian Air Force conducted an airstrike on Tuesday this week against the forces of Migbe Haile near Kolla Temben , and no civilians were targeted in the attack.
“Our defense force is even paying sacrifices because of the extra cautions it is making to avoid civilian casualties,” Colonel Getnet added.
Pro- TPLF groups have been claiming victory against Ethiopian Defense Forces this week. They went to the extent of claiming that TPLF forces controlled cities and took thousands of Ethiopian Defense Forces as captives. Colonel Ketnet spoke about it too during his media appearance on Thursday.
The Ethiopian Defense Force was withdrawn from most parts of Tigray region for deployment in other parts of the country as part of security arrangements for the sixth general election in the country, he said. The TPLF terrorists, he added, exploited the situation to rove around urban centers and cause security problems.
Regarding the question why TPLF leaders are asserting presence and show of force, Colonel Getenet said “they [TPLF forces] realized that all the possible exits out of Ethiopia are closed, and they are trying to show that they still exist.”
He also accused TPLF of using child soldiers forcefully recruited from communities.
The Ethiopian Parliament has designated TPLF, which is currently operating as a guerrilla group in different parts of the region, as a terrorist organization.
It is believed to be operating in the wildernesses of Tigray in most cases but it also appears to have clandestine cells in and near urban centers operating as civilians.
Many of the TPLF military leaders including Tadesse Worede, Tsadkan Gebretensae and Megebe Haile appeared in civilian clothes during recent interviews with a pro TPLF media based in the diaspora.
There are indications that TPLF combatants are using civilian clothes for combat (both in urban centers and rural areas). A video circulating on twitter ( embedded below) shows a group of armed TPLF combatants signing and dancing. Furthermore, there were reports that they were taking human shields in residential homes and places of worship.
Ethiopian government has been criticized, for a long time now after the TPLF started the war, for targeting civilians.