The TPLF accuses the Ethiopian government of targeting civilian non-military targets in Mekelle
A reported airstrike in Mekelle killed four civilians. Nine other people are wounded, according to a DW Amharic report which cited “eyewitnesses.” Hospital sources are also cited.
It happened on Friday just two days after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) started fighting amid calls for unconditional peace talks to end the two-year-old conflict.
The TPLF accused the Ethiopian government of targeting residential areas in the air strike. It said “civilians are killed in an airstrike in Mekelle where there is no military target. The airstrike targeted children’s playgrounds and Kindergarten.”
The government, however, rejected the claim and said that the airstrike was focused on military targets in Mekelle.
VOA Amharic said its reporter in Mekelle spoke to hospital sources and has confirmed that four civilians are killed.
Before the airstrike, the Ethiopian government on Friday made a public safety announcement for residents in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. It called for citizens to avoid presence near military targets including weapon depo and military training facilities.
It remains a question whether the TPLF would start a war without training an adequate army during the “humanitarian ceasefire” that lasted for about five months. If that is the case, targeting “training facilities” may not be a meaningful target. If that is not the case, it may mean an indication of the possibility of a long war.
When the Ethiopian government planned the national budget for the upcoming fiscal year, it allocated a budget for the reconstruction of the war-affected areas including the Tigray region. The budget was prepared with the assumption that this year would be peaceful.
Meanwhile, the TPLF denied that it did not steal fuel from the World Food Programme warehouses in Mekelle. In a statement released on Friday, the TPLF said it took fuel that the WFP borrowed from the TPLF. However, the UN agency earlier this week said that “Tigrean forces” entered the premises of the warehouse forcefully and stole 12 full trucks of fuel.”
On Wednesday, the WFP Director, David Beasley, said “…The Tigrayan authorities stole 570,000 liters of fuel…” which the WFP intended for humanitarian operations in the region.
Later the Ethiopian government announced that the stolen fuel was sent to the Tigray region for the WFP so as to facilitate the humanitarian operation.
The Ethiopian government airstrike came just a day after the WFP announced “Tigray authorities” stole fuel from its warehouse in Mekele.
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