October 24, 2021
Above, smoke from fires billows at the scene of an earlier airstrike in Mekele, the capital of the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia on Oct. 20, 2021. PHOTO: AP
ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia conducted two air strikes in Tigray on Sunday as the government intensifies a nearly week-old campaign of aerial bombardment against the rebellious forces who control most of the region.
One strike hit the western Tigray area of Mai Tsebri, targeting a training site of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), government spokesperson Legesse Tulu said. The other hit the northern Tigray town of Adwa, targeting a military manufacturing facility controlled by the TPLF, the government said in a statement.
“I can confirm there was a successful air strike in Mai Tsebri targeting training site of illegal recruits of the TPLF and a depot of heavy artillery,” Legesse said.
It was not immediately possible to verify the claim as communications are down throughout most of war-hit Tigray.
TPLF spokesperson Getachew Reda told Reuters he had verified with colleagues that an air strike hit near a local hospital in Mai Tsebri.
Getachew said there were no casualties to his knowledge. He said he had no information about the strike on Adwa. “The government makes it sound as though all of the Tigray region is a training centre. It doesn’t make any sense, we don’t have all these training centres.”
“Today in Adwa, a centre that the terrorist group TPLF was using to manufacture military equipment was destroyed by an air strike,” the Government Communications Service said in a statement posted on Facebook.
Ethiopian federal forces and forces loyal to the TPLF have been fighting for almost a year in a conflict that has killed thousands of people and displaced more than 2 million.
Mai Aini and Adi Harush Refugee Camps, which host thousands of Eritrean refugees, are both in the vicinity of Mai Tsebri.
Legesse said the refugee camps were not affected by the strike.
Representatives from Ethiopia’s Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Reporting by Addis Ababa newsroom; Additional reporting and writing by Maggie Fick and Ayenat Mersie; Editing by Hugh Lawson, Raissa Kasolowsky and Giles Elgood