Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed attends a signing ceremony in Addis Ababa. File/Reuters
Gulf Today Report
Ethiopian jets bombed the Tigray region on Friday as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed vowed further air strikes in the escalating conflict amid reports that Tigrayan forces had seized control of federal military sites and weapons.
“Civilians in the region should avoid ‘collateral damage’ by not gathering outside as strikes would continue,” Abiy said in a televised speech on Friday evening.
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Defying international pleas for both sides to show restraint, Prime Minister says that, “Our operation aims to end the impunity that has prevailed for far too long and hold accountable individuals and groups under the laws of the land."
The developments illustrate how quickly the days-old conflict is escalating, raising the threat of a civil war that experts and diplomats warn would destabilise the country of 110 million people and hurt the broader Horn of Africa.
Abiy, who won last year's Nobel Peace Prize, said he launched the air strikes after the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) attacked a federal military base and tried to steal equipment. He said "the last red line" had been crossed.
A simmering row between Abiy's federal government and his former Tigrayan allies exploded on Wednesday after Abiy ordered a military campaign. Abiy, who won last year's Nobel Peace Prize, accused the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), of attacking a federal military base and trying to steal equipment. He said "the last red line" had been crossed.His government cut phone and internet communications to the region, according to the digital rights group Access Now, making it impossible to verify official accounts. Government officials accused the TPLF of shutting down communications.
Rights group Amnesty International said scores and possibly hundreds of civilians were stabbed and hacked to death in the region on Nov.9, citing witnesses. It said it had not been able to independently confirm who was responsible,
In the late hours of Nov. 13, 2020, “a rocket was fired towards Bahir Dar and Gondar cities. As a result, the airport areas have sustained damages," a government statement said.
Abiy ordered the military to deploy to the Tigray region after a major escalation of a row between the premier and the once-powerful region.
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