Ethiopia; Forces in Ethiopia’s Tigray province have shot rockets at airports in a neighboring state, as their battle with the government increases. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which rules Tigray, said it had targeted the two locations in Amhara state and alerted of added strikes. The uncertainty between Ethiopia’s government and the TPLF has escalated into military conflicts in the past month.
Hundreds of people have died, with accounts of a civilian bloodbath arising this week. Human rights group Amnesty International said it had affirmed that “scores, and likely hundreds, of people, were stabbed or hacked to death” in the town of Mai-Kadra on 9 November. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has blamed forces dedicated to Tigray’s leaders for bringing out the mass slayings, while the TPLF has rejected involvement.
Mr. Abiy called a military operation against the TPLF earlier this month after he charged them with thrashing a military camp hosting federal troops – argues the TPLF deny. There have been several clashes and airstrikes in the area. The fighting has pushed at least 17,000 civilians to transit the border into Sudan, according to the UN. Getting independently substantiated report about the crisis in Tigray is hard because phone lines and internet services are down.
Kalkidan Yibeltal, the BBC correspondent in Addis Ababa, says the dispute “is escalating and things are getting worse”.”In addition to slayings, we are also witnessing a growth in refugees to neighboring Sudan and also internally expelled people. Humanitarian agencies are not able to help because of the conflict and since transport has been interrupted. So we’re noticing more and more alarming information about the human cost of this conflict.”
An official told that one rocket hit the airport in Gondar and somewhat sabotaged it, while a second fired simultaneously landed just past the airport in Bahir Dar. Details on casualties were not immediately clear. Both airports are used by military and civilian aircraft. Forces from Amhara have been battling alongside their federal counterparts against Tigray fighters.
Ethiopia’s prime minister has envisioned a swift military victory in Tigray, but he may have misjudged his enemy, says the BBC’s African regional editor Will Ross. Tigrayan troops are experienced and know the mountainous topography well, he says. There are worries that a drawn-out regional battle would have terrible results for civilians in Ethiopia and the wider Horn of Africa.