People inspect a damaged playground following an air strike in Mekelle People inspect a damaged playground following an air strike in Mekelle 

Ethiopia: Air strike hits Tigray capital Mekelle

An air strike late on Tuesday hit a neighbourhood close to a hospital in Mekelle, the capital of Ethiopia's northern Tigray region. The attack comes less than a week after fighting broke a four-month ceasefire.

By Vatican News staff reporter

As hostilities continue in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, it is the innocent who continue to suffer.

The Chief Executive of the Ayder General Hospital, Kibrom Gebreselassie, tweeted that an area near Mekelle General Hospital had been hit on Tuesday by an air strike.

Another doctor at Ayder confirmed to the Reuters news agency he had heard three explosions late at night.

The reports have been unconfirmed as Mekelle has not had phone communication since Ethiopian troops pulled out more than a year ago.

The extent of the damage and casualties is also unknown, but the Ayder chief executive said his hospital had been caring for the wounded.

Ethiopian government officials were not immediately available for comment.

The bombings came after renewed fighting between government forces and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) last week.

This latest attack follows a hit on a children's play area on Friday that killed seven people, including women and children.

Responding to the violence, the UN children’s charity UNICEF said: "Once again, the resurgence of indiscriminate violence in northern Ethiopia has robbed children of their lives. In recent shelling in villages in the Afar region bordering Tigray, children have been killed and many more injured in recent days."

"Once again, UNICEF calls on all parties to agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities -- for the sake of the children in Ethiopia and their future."

Ongoing conflict

The conflict in Ethiopia began in November 2020 when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a military offensive against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

Fighting has continued in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people and has forced millions to become displaced.

The TPLF had dominated Ethiopian politics for decades but clashed with the government of Prime Minister Ahmed after he came to power in 2018.

Humanitarian aid

Millions of people in Tigray are in need of food aid, but according to the United Nations, humanitarian deliveries through the neighbouring Afar region have been halted due to security concerns.

As the conflict goes on, the region continues to lack phone or electricity services.

Fuel restrictions have also limited aid distribution, while patients are dying for lack of medicine and equipment.

The TPLF wants to see services restored before any kind of peace talks can begin; however, the government wants talks without conditions.

31 August 2022, 14:04