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Ethiopian civilians killed in Tigray drone strike

Ethiopia has been facing a humanitarian crisis for more than a year. Monday and Tuesday’s drone strikes have killed and wounded more women and children according to local reports.

Over the past two days, Ethiopia’s war-stricken region, Tigray, has experienced drone strikes killing 19 people and injuring dozens.

On Monday, in Mai Tsebri town, a deadly attack left 17 people dead at a flour mill, with dozens injured and 16 donkeys killed according to humanitarian workers. In a similar reported strike on Tuesday, two people were killed and dozens injured in Hiwane, Mekelle, Tigray’s capital.

The latest attacks come after last week’s Friday drone strike killed 56 people and injured 30 including children and women. This attack was on a displaced people camp in Tigray. Reports indicate drone strikes are becoming more frequent in Ethiopia’s ongoing civil war.

On Monday, US President Joe Biden had a call with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy, about the violence. According to a White House statement, “ongoing hostilities, including recent airstrikes, continue to cause civilian casualties and sufferings.”

Biden commended the effort made by Abiy on Friday’s amnesty announcement to opposition leaders and TPLF seniors. The leaders were pardoned to create a bid for unity and dialogue with the two opposing sides.

The ongoing civil war has killed thousands of civilians and left millions displaced from their homes since November 2020.

What has been the international response?

According to the UN, the northwest Tigray region is inaccessible as attacks are frequent.

The UN suspended its operations on Monday citing drone attacks threatening the normal aid assistance. The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a statement saying the organization and its partners were mobilizing urgent emergency assistance to a refugee camp which was under attack and claimed the lives of three Eritrean refugees.

The Tigray region is a ‘de facto blockade.’ This refers to being a region that is preventing life-saving food and medicine from reaching approximately 6 million individuals, including thousands who are in famine prone areas.

Local and international human rights have raised concerns over the increasing ethnic Tigrayan detentions by the Prime Minister’s government.

The government has refuted the claims and argued it is respecting human rights and is not ethnically involved in detentions.

Reports further indicate the government has restrictions on the reporting of the conflict and has detained some journalists.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom, took to Twitter and was concerned about the drone strike and the deaths of civilians. Dr. Tedros, who is a Tigrayan, further called for an end to the war and an urgent humanitarian aid to be allowed.

Let’s hope the end to Ethiopia’s civil war will be a reality soon!


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