According to reports, air raids launched by Ethiopian warplanes on a market killed or injured dozens of people in the Tigray region in the north of the country. It was reported that more than 40 people were injured.
The Ethiopian Air Force raided Togoga, 25km from the provincial capital, Mekele, on Tuesday, while the authorities denied targeting civilians, saying that they launched raids to eliminate terrorists.
It is believed that armed rebels in Tigray have made advances on the ground in recent days. The battles, which erupted eight months ago, have killed thousands and displaced millions from their homes.
The rebels launched a violent attack on government forces in the Tigray region and seized several towns.
A doctor at Mikkeli hospital said that at least 60 people had been killed and more than 40 wounded. There are fears of a rise in these numbers.
Doctors say they are treating dozens of people, including a two-year-old child, who were wounded in the airstrike.
Reuters news agency quoted medical workers as saying that the Ethiopian army prevented them from reaching the site of the raids to treat other wounded.
A 16-year-old boy at Ayder Hospital said that shrapnel hit him in his hand and saw people lying on the ground. He also said that someone he knew was killed in the airstrikes.
As for the Ethiopian army, it confirmed that the raids hit military targets. A spokeswoman said: “Our forces did not launch any raid on a popular market. That cannot happen. The army can hit its targets accurately. We carried out raids, but only on certain targets.”
What is the background to the conflict?
In November last year, Ethiopian government forces, backed by neighbouring Eritrea, launched a military campaign in the Tigray region to expel the ruling Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front. It announced its victory at the end of the month.
The Front was in a considerable dispute with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, over his political reforms in the country. Still, the party’s control of federal military bases in the region triggered the government’s military campaign.
The front allied with other formations in the region and established the rebel Tigray Defense Force against the central government.
Human rights organizations accuse the Eritrean forces of committing massacres, mass rape and preventing humanitarian aid from reaching it. Eritrea denies the accusations.