Aid workers and eyewitnesses are telling media an airstrike in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region has killed more than 50 people. The Reuters news agency reports at least 30 others have been wounded after a camp for the internally displaced was hit Friday night.
An airstrike in Ethiopia’s Tigray region reportedly killed 56 people and injured at least 30, including children, in a camp for displaced people, aid workers told Reuters Saturday, citing eyewitnesses and local authorities.
Ethiopian government officials have not confirmed the reported strike that hit an area of Dedebit town, near the border with Eritrea. Aid workers, who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media, told Reuters the strike occurred Friday night.
An aid worker said victims were brought to Shire Shul General Hospital, adding the camp was a residence for elderly women and children.
The reported airstrike happened after the government released detained Tigray People’s Liberation Front senior leaders and other politicians Friday night in an attempt to curb the country’s crisis.
Ethiopia’s government communications service announced the release of Sebhat Nega, one of the founders of the TPLF, Abay Woldu, a former head of the Tigray region, Jawar Mohammed, Eskindir Nega and others.
Speaking to the state run news agency Saturday, Ethiopia’a minister for Justice, Gedewon Temotewos, said the individuals were released after the government dropped criminal charges against them.
Their charges were dropped to facilitate the national dialogue set to happen soon, he said. As you know, the country has established a commission for national dialogue and releasing them will make the process more inclusive and valid, too.
Ethiopia introduced the process of creating a national dialogue commission in December. Justice Minister Temotewos says the government wants every part of society in the country to take part in the process.
In remarks Saturday, he revealed the government also has dropped charges against Debretsion Gebremichael, Tigray’s region head, and five other TPLF officials. But there is no confirmation whether the TPLF will be part of the upcoming national dialogue.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has welcomed the decision to release detainees. He has called on the two parties to end hostilities and launch a credible and inclusive national dialogue.
Tigray forces announced in December they were pulling out of parts of Ethiopia’s Amhara and Afar regions as part of a cease-fire agreement. In a letter addressed to the United Nations secretary-general at that time, Gebremichael set demands, which include establishment of a no-fly zone over Tigray’s airspace.
Aid agencies told Reuters this week at least 146 people have been killed and 213 injured in airstrikes in Tigray since October 18. But the Ethiopian government denies targeting civilians during the 14-month conflict with Tigray forces.