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Ethiopia hits Tigrayan forces in third day of air strikes


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© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: A scene from an air raid, Mekelle in Tigray Region, Ethiopia. October 20, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer

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ADDIS ABABA (Reuters). -Ethiopia launched an air attack on Mekelle, a spokesperson for the government said. This was part of a campaign against rebellious Tigrayan troops they had been fighting for almost a year.

Legesse Tulu, a spokesperson for Reuters said that the Tigrayan military forces were using the centre as a training facility. The centre used to be a base for the Ethiopian military known as Northern Command.

The conflict broke out between the federal troops and Tigray People’s Liberation Front in November 2020. This group, which ruled Ethiopian for 30 years but is now confined to the northern regions of the country, was formerly known as the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. More than 2,000,000 people fled after being forced to flee, and hundreds of victims have been murdered.

Air strikes were ordered amid intensified fighting within the neighboring north region of Amhara. The government has launched a ground attack last week to regain territory it lost several months back to the TPLF.

Getachew Reda, spokesperson for the TPLF, told Reuters that a fighter plane was over Mekelle Thursday afternoon. He had performed several sorties but had no knowledge of any target.

Reuters could not independently verify either the statement by the government or the TPLF.

EXPLOSION

A Mekelle resident told Reuters that he heard what he thought was a fighter plane flying overhead at 3:24 p.m. He also heard an explosion, which he assumed to be an anti-aircraft gun.

These raids are coming as Tigrayan forces assert they are moving quickly, despite military attempts to stop them.

Getachew reported that the Tigrayan force is close to Kombulcha’s large cities, Dessie and Kombulcha. However, it is securing the country to the north through the deployment of federal troops as well as allied militias.

When asked about the claim, the spokesperson for the government referred Reuters back to a previous statement in which the government stated that youth from Amhara and neighboring Afar regions were mobilizing to protect their land from Tigrayan fighters. They urged citizens from all parts of Ethiopia and other countries to help the cause, stating that they needed an “organised mobilization” to overcome the Tigrayan troops.

Kombulcha is home to an airport, a few factories and many refugees fleeing fighting in the north. Dessie has several tens of thousand people. Kombulcha can be found on the main highway linking Ethiopia’s capital to Djibouti, a seaport.

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Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.