17 killed in drone strike in Ethiopia's Tigray: aid workers

Tuesday January 11 2022
Ethiopia Drone
By AFP

Seventeen civilians have been killed in a drone strike in a town in Ethiopia's war-hit Tigray region, aid workers told AFP on Tuesday.

"Yesterday (Monday) the strike at Mai Tsebri occurred in the afternoon and killed 17 civilians working at the flour mill," said one of the humanitarian workers, citing witness accounts.

The attack came only a few days after dozens of people were reported killed and many injured in a drone strike on a camp in northwestern Tigray for people displaced by Ethiopia's brutal 14-month conflict.

The aid worker said dozens of people were injured and 16 donkeys killed in Monday's strike in Mai Tsebri, also in northwestern Tigray.

"A witness told me that the drones came and hovered a bit before dropping bombs. Then people panicked but after some minutes everyone heard huge shouting and they went to the scene to see that women and donkeys died." 

The aid workers also said the attack on the displaced persons camp in Dedebit late Friday had killed 59 people, with one reporting 138 wounded.

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It was not possible to independently verify the various claims because access to Tigray is restricted and it remains under a communications blackout.

A government spokeswoman said Tuesday she had no information on the alleged strikes.

Rebels from the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) say government forces are continuing to wage air strikes despite them retreating to their Tigray stronghold in December.

The withdrawal followed a government offensive that led to the recapture of a string of strategic towns, and had raised hopes of a possible opening towards a ceasefire.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, himself a Tigrayan, said on Twitter he was "deeply concerned about reports of another drone strike in #Tigray, resulting in injuries and death of too many civilians". 

"I echo (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' call for an end to the conflict in Ethiopia and for humanitarian aid to be urgently allowed in."