UN concerned about airstrikes in Ethiopia’s Tigray

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The United Nations is concerned about reports of airstrikes in Ethiopia’s Tigray region where fighting has resumed between government forces and the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Force (TPLF), a spokesman said Friday.

“We’ve seen these reports of airstrikes in Mekelle (the capital city of Tigray), which have caused damage to infrastructure and civilians, more importantly,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “It’s a very concerning development.”

Although the United Nations has staff in Mekelle, the world body is not in a position to confirm the airstrikes. UN staff in Mekelle are safe and sound. But the communications and the ability of staff to move around are complicated, said the spokesman.

He reaffirmed the secretary-general’s call for a cessation of hostilities.

“The country is … part of this drought-impacted area in the Horn of Africa. We keep talking about the humanitarian needs of all Ethiopians because we work without favor from one group of Ethiopians or another, and the fighting needs to stop,” he said. “And all the parties need to do whatever they can to protect civilians and also, very importantly, to ensure the unimpeded passage of humanitarian goods.”

The Ethiopian government announced Friday that it will strike TPLF positions.

Addis Ababa asked people in Tigray to stay away from the areas where the TPLF’s military equipment and training facilities are located, said the Ethiopia Government Communication Service in a press statement.

Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, has seen a devastating conflict between government-allied troops and forces loyal to the rebel TPLF since November 2020.

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