Africa

Aid agencies suspend work in part of Ethiopia’s Tigray after airstrike

Published : January 10, 2022 17:03 IST

The conflict in northern Ethiopia has killed thousands of civilians and displaced millions. Photo: Minasse Wondimu Hailu/AA/picture alliance

The strike reportedly killed civilians in a camp for displaced people.

Aid agencies have suspended their operations in an area of Tigray in Ethiopia after 56 civilians were killed in an airstrike, the United Nations said on January 9. "Humanitarian partners suspended activities in the area due to the ongoing threats of drone strikes," the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement. According to the region's main hospital, 126 people were injured.

OCHA said a lack of medicines, fuel, and other essential commodities was "severely disrupting the response to the injured, and (has) led to the nearly total collapse of the health system in Tigray." "The intensification of airstrikes is alarming, and we once again remind all parties to the conflict to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law," it said.

What we know about the strike

The attack on midnight on January 7 targeted a camp for displaced people in the town of Dedebit in northwestern Tigray. It came just hours after the Ethiopian government called for "national reconciliation," announcing amnesty for opposition leaders from several ethnic groups, and senior officials of the rebel Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). Reports of the airstrike could not be identified independently as access to Tigray is restricted, and the region remains under a communications blackout.

'Mass civilian casualties'

The U.N. humanitarian agency reported last month that airstrikes on Tigray between December 19 and 24 caused "mass civilian casualties." Earlier this month, the U.N. said three Eritrean refugees, including two children, had been killed in an airstrike on January 5 on a refugee camp in Tigray.

Ethiopia's Tigray, a mountainous region of 5 million people, has been ravaged by a war that broke out between Tigrayan forces and federal troops 14 months ago. The war has threatened to tear apart Africa's second-most populous country. Three Eritrean refugees, including two children, were killed in an airstrike on a camp in Tigray, according to the U.N. refugee agency.

adi/aw (AFP, Reuters)