News ID: 276782
Published: 0417 GMT November 14, 2020

Airports near Ethiopia's Tigray state attacked with rockets

Airports near Ethiopia's Tigray state attacked with rockets
TIKSA NEGERI/REUTERS
Members of Amhara region militias ride on their truck as they head to the mission to face the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) in Sanja, Amhara region near a border with Tigray, Ethiopia, on November 9, 2020.

Two airports in Ethiopia’s Amhara state which neighbors Tigray where federal troops are fighting local forces were targeted by rocket fire late on Friday, the government said.

One of the rockets hit the airport in Gondar and partially damaged it late on Friday, said Awoke Worku, the spokesperson for Gondar central zone, while a second one fired simultaneously landed just outside of the airport at Bahir Dar, according to Reuters.

The government blamed the ruling party in Tigray, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

“The TPLF junta is utilizing the last of the weaponry within its arsenals,” the government’s emergency task force wrote on Twitter.

Debretsion Gebremichael, the chairman of the TPLF and the state’s president, said the airports were legitimate targets.

“Any airport used to attack Tigray will be a legitimate target, not cities of Amhara,” he told Reuters in a text message.

Hundreds of people have been killed in the 11-day-old war. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent the national defense force on an offensive against local troops in Tigray last week, after accusing them of attacking federal troops.

An Ethiopian Airlines worker who did not wish to be identified said flights to both Gondar and Bahir Dar airports had been canceled after the attacks.

Yohannes Ayele, a resident of Gondar, said he heard a loud explosion in the Azezo neighborhood of the city at 10:30 p.m.

Another resident of the area said the rocket had damaged the airport terminal building. The area was sealed off and firefighting vehicles were parked outside, the resident added.

The Amhara regional state’s forces have been fighting alongside their federal counterparts against Tigray’s fighters.

The United Nations, the African Union and others are concerned that the fighting could spread to other parts of Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country, and destabilize the wider Horn of Africa region.

More than 14,500 people have fled into neighboring Sudan, with the speed of new arrivals “overwhelming the current capacity to provide aid”, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said on Friday.

Ethiopia’s Human Rights Commission, appointed by the government but independent, said it was sending a team of investigators to the town of Mai Kadra in Tigray, where Amnesty International this week reported what it said was evidence of mass killings.

The commission will investigate any human rights violations in the conflict, it said in a statement.

 

 

   
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Resource: Reuters
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