Ethiopia

  1. Ethiopia escalates air strikes in Mekelle

    Kalkidan Yibeltal

    BBC News, Addis Ababa

    Ethiopian air force has conducted a fresh round of bombing in Mekelle, the main city of the northern Tigray region.

    In a statement, the government’s communications office said Tuesday's offensive targeted a rebels' training camp in the outskirts of the city.

    Tigray Television, controlled by rebel forces, has confirmed the air raids but did respond to the government's claims of targeting training facilities.

    Last week the air force carried out strikes in the city as well as other areas in the western and northern Tigray.

    Rebel forces accuse the government of targeting and killing civilians in the air raids because it was losing ground battles.

    But the authorities in Addis Ababa say the air raids are directed at rebel targets.

    On 4 November the Horn of Africa nation will mark a year since fighting broke out between federal forces and fighters loyal to Tigray People's Liberation Front.

    Thousands have been killed, many more face famine conditions and millions have been displaced.

    More on the Tigray crisis:

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  3. Fresh Ethiopia airstrikes hit new Tigray targets

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Map of Ethiopia

    The Ethiopian government says the military has launched air strikes on rebel positions in the north and west of the Tigray region - expanding the range of its aerial bombardments.

    Previous air strikes over the last week had all been in the regional capital Mekelle, but these ones hit Adwa and Mai Tsebri.

    The government said they had targeted Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) facilities but a number of civilians are reported to have died.

    A TPLF spokesperson said no military targets had been hit and suggested missiles had struck buildings already destroyed by Ethiopian and Eritrean forces.

    With all phone communication cut off in Tigray it will be hard to verify the outcome of the air strikes - especially as they are in fairly remote areas.

    They are also far from where the fiercest fighting has been taking place - in the neighbouring Amhara region.

    After nearly a year of conflict between the TPLF and pro-government forces, the UN says seven million people are in need of emergency assistance and more than two million have been displaced.

  4. UN suspends flights to rebel-held Ethiopian city

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    The UN says its flights to Mekelle in Ethiopia's Tigray region have been suspended after one of its planes had to abort its landing on the same morning as a military air strike was carried out on the city.

    The Ethiopian government said its planes had been targeting a training centre used by Tigrayan rebels.

    As the UN plane was approaching Mekelle the authorities at the city’s airport told the crew not to land.

    The fact that airstrikes were being carried out on the same city on the same morning will be of great concern to the UN – as the plane had been cleared for take off by the authorities in the capital, Addis Ababa.

    None of this will help repair the already strained relationship between the government and humanitarian agencies.

    The security situation continues to worsen. Since June the fighting has expanded to the Amhara and Afar regions displacing an additional 1.2 million people.

    Seven million people are now in urgent need of assistance and the UN says malnutrition rates are rising every day.

  5. Facebook bans Oromia rebel group

    Ameyu Etana

    BBC News Afaan Oromo

    The social media giant Facebook has told the BBC it's currently removing posts and accounts related to Ethiopia's Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) after it had listed the group under ''dangerous organizations'' and "violent non-state actors".

    The group, which broke away from legally registered party Oromo Liberation Front in April 2019, was designated a terrorist group by Ethiopia's parliament in May.

    The OLA been accused of killings and massacres mainly in western and southern regions of Ethiopia's Oromia state, which it denies.

    It is also in alliance with the Tigray People's liberation Front (TPLF), which is fighting government troops in northern Ethiopia for almost a year.

    In response to Facebook's decision, an OLA spokesman claimed the social media company was ''influenced by a propaganda campaign waged by Ethiopian right-wing groups''.

    Recently, the OLA had been branded ''an enemy'' by two influential traditional leaders from Ethiopia's Oromo people.

  6. UN plane forced to divert because of Ethiopia airstrike

    A woman walking past a destroyed building
    Image caption: The ongoing struggle in Ethiopia's Tigray region has killed thousands of people and displaced more than two million.

    A United Nations humanitarian plane was forced to cancel its landing on Friday in Mekelle, capital of Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, because of a government airstrike, a UN spokesperson has told the BBC.

    Earlier the government had confirmed its latest aerial attack, saying it targeted Tigrayan rebels who are controlling the city. They say civilians were hit.

    The UN World Food Programme says its flight was forced to return to Addis Ababa because of this latest strike.

    It is the fourth day of aerial bombardments on the city of Mekelle as fighting intensified between the central government and regional forces.

    The government said it had struck a training area used by Tigrayan fighters but a spokesman for the rebels said the city's university was hit.

  7. Fourth air strike on rebel-held Ethiopian city this week

    Ferdinand Omondi

    BBC News, Nairobi

    A house in the wider Tigray region that was damaged by shelling in 2020.
    Image caption: Activists and anti-government fighters say civilian homes were hit (archive photo from Tigray region)

    Ethiopian authorities have confirmed the national air force shelled the Tigray regional capital of Mekelle on Thursday afternoon, its fourth strike on the city this week.

    The ongoing struggle in Ethiopia's Tigray region has killed thousands of people and displaced more than two million.

    The government says its latest aerial attacks targeted Tigrayan rebels who are controlling the city, but the fighters in Tigray have claimed civilians were the target.

    Some human rights activists in Tigray are suggesting high-rise residential buildings had been bombed - but the military says it was targeting manufacturing and armament repair sites belonging to the Tigray People's Liberation Front, as well as destroying illegal caches of heavy weaponry.

    Tigray media has also shown footage of what appeared to be child soldiers allegedly fighting on the government’s side. Meanwhile the Ethiopian government has been accusing the Tigrayan fighters of using child soldiers since they recaptured Mekelle in June.

  8. Tigray's capital hit by airstrike again

    Smoke billowing in Mekelle
    Image caption: Witnesses said that Wednesday's strike had hit the property of a company

    Ethiopia's military has carried out an airstrike in Mekille - the main city in the in Tigray region - for the third time this week.

    Government spokesman Legesse Tulu said that Thursday's strike had targeted a military training centre of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls the city wth a population of more than 500,000.

    TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda told AFP news agency its defence units had "foiled its [the military's] mission".

    Conflict between the TPLF and the federal government broke out almost a year, causing a massive humanitarian crisis.

    The UN said three children were killed in air strikes on Mekelle on Monday.

    Medics said that eight people - including a pregnant mother - were wounded in strikes on Wednesday.

  9. Pregnant woman injured in Tigray air raid - officials

    Line Tsigab

    BBC Tigrinya

    A pregnant mother is among eight people who have been wounded in the airstrike in Mekelle - the main city in Tigray in northern Ethiopia, local hospital officials have told BBC Tigrinya.

    The director of emergency services at the city's Ayder Hospital said that five of them - including the woman who is in the ninth month of pregnancy - were being treated at his hospital.

    He said the other three were admitted to Mekelle Hospital.

    A central committee member of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), Prof Kindeya Geberehiwot, said the airstrike took place at around 10:25 local time in the centre of the city.

    "It's near Mekelle Hospital. People are trying to control the blaze," he told BBC Tigrinya.

    The Ethiopian National Defence Force's Col Getnet Adane declined to comment, when contacted by BBC Tigrinya.

    Mekelle has a population of more than 500,000.

    The compound of a well-known company - Mesfin Industrial Engineering PLC - was hit by the airstrike, sources in the city told BBC Tigrinya.

    Two warehouses - including one which stocked tyres - went up in flames, and were reduced to ashes, the sources said.

    Site of airstrike in Mekelle

    The UN said three children were killed in air strikes on the city on Monday.

    The Ethiopian air force said Monday's strikes had targeted communication infrastructure used by the TPLF.

  10. Tigray's capital hit by new airstrike - reports

    Hanna Temuari

    BBC Amharic

    Mekelle city (stock image)
    Image caption: The TPLF tweeted about the airstrike in Mekelle city on Wednesday morning (stock image)

    Tigrayan forces say Mekelle, the capital of the war-torn Tigray region in northern Ethiopia, has been hit by airstrike for a second time this week.

    Kindeya Gebrehiwot, a member of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF)'s central committee, tweeted about the airstrike being carried out in the city around 10:20 local time (7:20GMT).

    Residents have also confirmed the attack.

    The federal government has not said anything about the reported attack.

    The Ethiopian air force carried out two airstrikes on Monday, saying it targeted communication infrastructure used by the TPLF.

    The UN said three children were killed in Monday’s air raid.

    There are reports of a intensive renewed fight between Tigray forces and Ethiopian army and its allies.

  11. Ethiopian troops sent to Tigray war front - witnesses

    BBC World Service

    A man hangs an Ethiopian national flag at a school in Zarima, 140 kilometers from Gondar, Ethiopia, on September 16, 2021
    Image caption: Troops advancing to the front line are said to be accompanied by government-allied militias

    Ethiopian government soldiers are being sent towards the front line of the conflict with Tigrayan insurgents, witnesses in northern Ethiopia have told the BBC.

    A journalist from America's NPR radio station in the town of Kombolcha, said the troops were accompanied by government-allied militias equipped with improvised weapons including machetes, axes and hoes.

    They said they feared being killed by the Tigrayans if they failed to halt their advance.

    The BBC cannot independently verify the account.

    Kombolcha is also filled with desperate people fleeing Tigrayan-held areas, in some of which the UN says famine-like conditions have developed because of a government blockade.

    A Tigrayan spokesman said the rebels were advancing to push back the enemy, but said they were still far from Kombolcha.

  12. Getachew Reda - Spokesperson for the Tigray People's Liberation Front

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    Video caption: Stephen speaks to Getachew Reda, spokesperson for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

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  13. Gedion Timothewos – Ethiopia Attorney General

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    Video caption: Stephen Sackur speaks to Ethiopia’s attorney general Gedion Timothewos.

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  14. Ethiopia airstrike killed three children - UN

    Three children were killed on Monday in an airstrike in the outskirts of Ethiopia's northern city of Mekelle, the UN has said.

    "A second airstrike in Mekelle town later in the day reportedly injured nine people and caused damages to houses and a nearby hotel," said Jens Laerke, spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

    The bombing was carried out by the country's air force in its ongoing offensive against rebels in the northern Tigray region.

    The government had initially called reports of the airstrike "an absolute lie" but later confirmed the operation saying it was against fighters linked to the Tigray People's Liberation Front.

    Mr Laerke said "the intensification of the conflict is alarming," and urged both sides to protect civilians.

    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government has resumed its military operation against the rebels after a setback in June.

    The war, which started nearly a year ago, has killed thousands and displaced millions of people.

    Hundreds of thousands of people are facing famine conditions, according to aid organisations.

    Both warring sides have been accused of committing atrocities, which they deny.

  15. Tigray rebel attack kills 30 civilians - government

    Ameyu Etana

    BBC Afaan Oromo

    Recent attacks by the Ethiopian rebel group, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), have claimed the lives of at least 30 civilians, the government says.

    The conflict between the TPLF, which the government regards as a terrorist organisation, and Ethiopian federal forces is now nearly a year old.

    In its latest statement, the government says the TPLF targeted areas in Amhara and Afar regional states, which both border Tigray, in “unwarranted attacks against innocent civilians”.

    Whereas the government has been committed to a humanitarian ceasefire it announced in June, the statement adds, the TPLF has continued fighting.

    View more on twitter

    The TPLF, which regards itself as the legitimate authority in Tigray, has not responded to the allegations.

    It is difficult to independently confirm details as there is a communications blackout in the region.

    Earlier on Monday, a TPLF official and witnesses told the BBC that there had been airstrikes on the capital of Tigray, Mekelle.

    TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda said civilians were targeted but the federal government denies launching an attack.

    Fresh fighting is exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation in Tigray and other areas impacted by the war.

  16. Airstrikes hit Tigray capital - rebels and witnesses

    Yemane Nagish

    BBC Tigrinya

    There have been air strikes on the city of Mekelle, the capital of Ethiopia's war-torn Tigray region, residents and rebel officials have told the BBC.

    Federal forces have been fighting the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) in the north of the country for nearly a year.

    Kindeya Geberehiwot, a member of the TPLF's central committee, told BBC Tigrinya that Monday morning's bombardment happened in two parts of the city.

    In the first strike, on Mekelle's outskirts, at around 09:30 local time (06:30 GMT) three civilians were killed and dozens were wounded, Mr Kindeya said.

    The second airstrike hit a busy public market and dozens were injured, he added.

    Residents have also told the BBC about the airstrikes and social media users have posted pictures allegedly showing the damage caused.

    The mobile phone network is not working in Tigray and it is difficult to independently confirm the claims.

    In a comment to the Reuters news agency, the Ethiopian government denied it was behind the reported bombardment.

    "Why would the Ethiopian government attack its own city? Mekelle is an Ethiopian city," Legesse Tulu, who heads the government communications service, is quoted as saying.

  17. Ethiopia's PM links food aid to foreign pressure

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
    Image caption: Ethiopia's prime minister has been facing increasing global pressure over the war in the north

    Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has linked food aid from abroad with diplomatic pressure on the country, in a statement reported by state-owned Ethiopia Television (ETV).

    He said Ethiopia needs to stop receiving the assistance to avoid that pressure, ETV reported.

    "If we make sure that this thing called wheat [food aid] does not enter Ethiopia, 70% of Ethiopia's problems will be solved.

    "Ethiopia's problem is wheat aid. With wheat aid comes diseases. With wheat aid come many things, many consequences. If we stop it, many of the problems will be solved," Mr Abiy said.

    The prime minister was speaking during a visit to a wheat farm in Oromia region.

    Ethiopia, which is among major aid recipient countries, is facing increasing pressure from some Western governments over the conflict in its northern Tigray region, where millions are at risk of starvation.

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    Video caption: BBC Africa Eye brings you the story of some of those who risk it all.