Tigrayan rocket attack damaged 'airport areas' in neighbouring region, says Ethiopia

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Nov 14, 2020, 04:14 PM(IST)

Representative Image Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The conflict between Ethiopian federal forces and Tigray region has already spiralled into a humanitarian crisis. Thousands of civilians are fleeing to neighbouring Sudan which does not have adequate resources to take care of this population

Raising fears that the conflict within Ethiopia could draw other regions of the country, Ethiopia on Saturday said that forces loyal to Tigray region fired into neighbouring Amhara region. Statement from Ethiopian government said that the rocket attack by Tigrayan forces damaged 'airport areas' in this region.

"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," an Ethiopian government statement said.

"The TPLF junta is utilising the last of the weaponry within its arsenals," the statement said, referring to the Tigray People's Liberation Front, the Tigray ruling party.

AFP quoted a doctor to say that two military personnel were killed and upto 15 injured in the city of Gondar that was target of the fire.

The conflict between federal forces and Tigray region has already spiralled into a humanitarian crisis. Thousands of civilians are fleeing to neighbouring Sudan which does not have adequate resources to take care of this population.

TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael told AFP Saturday he did not have information about the reported attacks but noted that TPLF leaders have said "any airport used to attack Tigray will be a legitimate target". 

The airports in Bahir Dar, the regional capital, and in Gondar are used by both military and civilian aircraft.

Residents reported hearing gunfire in both cities Friday night, though an Amhara regional government statement said "the situation was controlled within a few minutes" and "our cities are in peace". 

"There were at least two dead" and "10 or 15 injured", AFP quoted a doctor at a hospital in Gondar who spoke on condition of anonymity. 

He said the casualties appeared to have resulted from an explosion, not from bullets.

"I have seen abdominal, chest and leg injuries," he said, adding there were "no civilians at all" among the dead or injured. 

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last week launched military operations in Tigray, saying the move was provoked by TPLF attacks on federal military camps in the region -- a claim the TPLF denies. 

Hundreds of people are reported to have been killed, some in a gruesome massacre documented by Amnesty International, and thousands have fled fighting and air strikes in Tigray, whose leaders Abiy accuses of seeking to destabilise the country.

Tigray has been under a communications blackout since the operation began, making it difficult to verify claims from both camps about the situation on the ground.

Military officials have vowed to keep the conflict contained in Tigray, and Abiy has repeatedly promised a quick, decisive victory.

But Amhara and Tigray are embroiled in long-running disputes over land along their shared border that analysts worry could draw Amhara into the conflict.

Thousands of Amhara militiamen have already headed towards Tigray to fight alongside federal forces, according to Amhara security officials.

Both Bahir Dar and Gondar were calm Saturday morning, residents said.

One resident of Bahir Dar told AFP there were "two heavy explosions around 10:50 pm".

"After that there was gunfire for 15 minutes, and then it went quiet," the resident said. 

(With AFP inputs)

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