Ethiopian fighter jets have bombed the capital of the restive Tigray state, several sources have said, as the federal government resisted international pressure for mediation in the conflict with forces loyal to the regional governing party.
Ann Encontre, representative of the United Nations refugee agency in Ethiopia, said colleagues in the city of Mekelle, on Monday reported witnessing “an air strike, not far from them”.
“We don’t know the target and who was targeted,” she told Al Jazeera from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. “We have intermitted communication with colleagues when we do get access to the internet, but still we know that everybody was deadly afraid and civilians started moving right away.”
The Ethiopian air force dropped bombs in and around Mekelle, according to four diplomatic and military sources cited by Reuters
News Agency. There was no information on casualties or damage and there was no immediate comment from the Ethiopian government.
Debretsion Gebremichael, leader of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), said at least two civilians had been killed and several wounded. He said in a text message to Reuters that while Mekelle had been bombed, the town of Alamata in southern Tigray had been hit by a drone attack.
Ethiopia’s task force said earlier that federal troops had “liberated” Alamata, about 120km (75 miles) from Mekelle. There was no immediate comment from Tigray’s leaders about Alamata.
Some 25,000 refugees have fled to neighbouring Sudan and hundreds of people have been reported dead since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered air raids and a ground offensive on November 4 against Tigray’s local rulers for defying his authority. Both sides have been accused of committing atrocities against civilians.
Abiy, 44, has so far resisted pressure for talks to end a conflict that has threatened to destabilise the wider Horn of Africa region.—Al jazeera