In the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray, dozens of civilians were killed in air strikes by government troops last week, according to UN data.
Air strikes between 19 and 24 December “reportedly resulted in massive civilian casualties,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said yesterday. OCHA did not disclose which reports the information was based on.
The Ethiopian government announced last week that after the TPLF rebels had withdrawn from Tigray, they would not march into the region for the time being. However, the TPLF denounced numerous air strikes, which could not be independently verified. According to OCHA, the cities of Alamata, Korem, Maychew, Mekoni, Milazat and the provincial capital Mekele were hit.
Situation “tense and unpredictable”
“Due to the restricted access and the unsafe situation in the area, the humanitarian partners have not yet been able to verify the exact number of victims,” said the UN agency. The situation is “tense and unpredictable,” and the aid workers have difficulty providing those in need with important relief supplies. “Since December 14th, no trucks with humanitarian aid have arrived in Tigray.”
Government troops in Addis Ababa had pushed back the fighters of the rebel group TPLF and their allies after their advance last month and, according to state media, recaptured important cities.
On Monday, the insurgents announced their retreat to their stronghold, the Tigray region – according to their own statements for “humanitarian” reasons. According to the government, the rebels want to cover up their military defeats. There are hardly any communication links into the conflict area, and journalists’ access is limited. The information provided by the conflicting parties is therefore difficult to verify. Air Strikes In Tigray.