UN: 108 Dead in Ethiopian Air Strike on Tigray

TIGRAY, Blogtuan.info – The United Nations (UN) said Friday at least 108 civilians had been killed since early January 2022 in a series of airstrikes in Ethiopia’s war-torn northern Tigray region.

The United Nations also warned of a looming humanitarian catastrophe in the region, with its food distribution operations on the verge of stalling.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Twitter, “My call to the parties: stop fighting in all its forms. Everyone who needs humanitarian assistance must receive it as soon as possible. It’s time to start dialogue and reconciliation.”

The UN’s human rights commission has urged Ethiopian authorities to ensure the protection of civilians, saying disproportionate attacks that hit non-military targets could constitute war crimes.

Northern Ethiopia has been in conflict since November 2020 when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops to Tigray after accusing the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), of carrying out attacks on federal army camps.

“We are alarmed by the very disturbing reports we continue to receive about civilian casualties and the destruction of civilian objects as a result of airstrikes in the Tigray region of Ethiopia,” UN Human Rights Commission spokeswoman Liz Throssell told reporters in Geneva, Switzerland. AFP, Saturday (15/1/2022).

He is aware that at least 108 civilians have reportedly been killed and 75 injured since the start of this year in air strikes allegedly carried out by the Ethiopian air force.

He detailed a series of air strikes, including the January 7 attack on the Dedebit camp for internally displaced persons, which left at least 56 people dead and 30 injured, three of whom later died in hospital.

On Monday (10/1/2022), 17 civilians were reported killed and 21 injured after an air strike hit a flour mill.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday (11/1/2022), the state-owned Vocational Education and Training institution was hit by an air strike. The attack reportedly killed three people.

“Many other air strikes were reported last week,” he added.

The UN Human Rights Commission called on the Ethiopian authorities and their allies to ensure the protection of civilians and civilian objects, in line with their obligations under international law.

“Failure to respect the principles of distinction and proportionality could constitute a war crime,” Throssell said.

Meanwhile, the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) said distribution was at its lowest point so far, with the escalation of the conflict meaning that no distribution of WFP has reached Tigrayan’s capital, Mekele, since mid-December 2021.

“Life-saving food relief operations in northern Ethiopia will be brought to a halt due to heavy fighting in the neighborhood blocking the passage of fuel and food,” WFP spokesman Tomson Phiri told reporters.

He said that after 14 months of conflict in northern Ethiopia, there are more people who need urgent food assistance.

“Without food, fuel, access, we are on the verge of a major humanitarian catastrophe,” he explained.

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