Tigray rebels accused PM Abiy's Govt of targeting civilians in Tigray

TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda says airstrikes struck civilian targets in Makelle on Monday [Photo: AP]

MAKELLE - Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been accused of using the military wrongly by targeting innocent civilians in the Tigray region following renewed fights between Tigray Defense Forces [TDF] and Ethiopia National Defense Forces [ENDF].

For two weeks now, the ENDF has been carrying operations against TDF in parts of Amhara, Afar, and Tigray regions where the Tigray militia has been controlling for months after managing to push the federal army.

The Final Offensive which is supported by ENDF, Eritrea troops, and those from Amhara regions, has been widely criticized by the international community, which accuses ENDF of failing to adhere to international principles on conflict resolution.

On Monday, the Ethiopian Air Force attacked the outskirts of Mekele, the regional administrative capital of the Tigray region, killing a couple of civilians. This was the first airstrike in months that targeted innocent civilians according to aid agencies in Ethiopia.

Through its spokesperson Getachew Reda, the TDF has now accused PM Abiy Ahmed of targeting civilians besides using the military to solve a conflict that has already left thousands of people dead and millions displaced from their ancestral home.

"There is so much naïveté flying around in the crucibles of international diplomatic Capitals of the world as regards AbiyAhmed’s overtures for peace. While we have seen time and again that he quickly responds to military pressure, he is not someone who would willingly abandon his preferred choice of resolving differences through military means as long as he thinks he can get away with it," he said in a statement.

"He has never been for peace only the appropriate use of sticks can prod him into considering such path. The Air Strike on Civilians in Mekelle is proof positive that he will do everything to terrorize our people especially when his forces are losing in the battlefield," he added.

"If people had illusions he could keep his promise to resolve the conflict peacefully, yesterday’s attack should make it clear that only sticks are effective," Reda, a former federal Information Minister noted in a statement.

Addis Ababa, which launched the offensive a fortnight ago, is yet to respond to reports on the airstrike but the ENDF confirmed the incident, insisting that it targeted TDF. Eritrea is accused of supporting Ethiopia with sophisticated weapons which ENDF has been using.

The conflict started in November 2020 after the TDF, then Tigray People's Liberation Front [TPLF], attacked the Northern Command. Addis Ababa responded by dispatching troops with the aid of Eritrea, leading to a serious conflict that lasted for over 10 months.


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