The Ethiopian military has Sunday conducted another airstrike on military bases of Tigray People’s Liberationon Front (TPLT), a group declared as a terrorist group by country’s parliament, fighting in the Northern region of Tigray.
This is according to Selamawit Kassa, the government spokeswoman.
“Today the western front of (Mai Tsebri) which was serving as a training and military command post for the terrorist group TPLF has been the target of an air strike,” Selamawit Kassa said.
She explained that also during today’s airstrike, a separate facility in the northern town of Adwa used to manufacture military equipments as well as fake military uniforms used by TPLF combatants, were also hit.
The latest airstrike is the eighth since Monday when Ethiopia’s air force launched a series of them targeting TPLF arms manufacturing and armament repair sites in the region.
More five airstrikes have since been launched in the area including one that targeted a weapons’ cache in the western town of Agbe.
Government says the military airstrikes are specifically aimed at destroying illegal caches of heavy weaponry and armaments at selected sites not civilians as claimed by the TPLF leadership and some media outlets.
Analysts say that the claims are inflammatory propaganda intended to amplify the TPLF agenda since there is no evidence to suggest civilians were targets.
“If Ethiopia’s Air Force was targeting civilians in this major City (Mekelle), it would certainly kill many. Instead, less than a dozen are being treated for injuries as per local reports on Tigray TV,” says Hermela Aregawi, an Ethiopian journalist.
Meanwhile, government has also refuted that the UN humanitarian planes were denied access to Tigray by the airstrikes as widely reported.
It should be noted that on Saturday when the Ethiopian Air Force conducted airstrikes on a battle network hub in Mekelle, two UN aid planes licenced by the Federal Government returned to Addis Ababa after being denied permission by the local air traffic controllers to land in Mekelle.
“The planes had been cleared by federal authorities but received instructions to abort landing by the Mekelle airport control tower,” says Ethiopia’s ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.
Understanding the Tigray Conflict
TPLF which ruled Ethiopia for 27 years until 2018 when it was forced out of power following nationwide protests, was accused by protestors of brutality, plundering the country into multi-faceted and complex socio-political, security and economic problems as well as promoting politics of sowing mistrust amongst different ethnic groups during their rule.
The group rejected reforms ushered-in by then new elected Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed that were aimed at uniting the country as well as ensuring the rule of law, while advocating for peace, reconciliation and healing to many of the country’s ailments.
Angered by the unexpected loss of the disproportionate influence and undue privilege TPLF instead vowed to do whatever it takes to regain its grip on power even if it necessitated going “down to hell to disintegrate Ethiopia.”
For a year now, they have been fighting the Ethiopian government and Ethiopians including killing and displacing thousands of people, raping women and children in similar numbers and blocking humanitarian support access to Tigray as well as using children as soldiers in Tigray and neighboring regions.
The immediate cause of the current conflict was sparked by TPLF’s unprovoked attacks against the federal troops stationed in Tigray on November 4 last year, when they surrounded military bases in the region.
On that night, troops and officers were savagely murdered, many of them while asleep. The sole objective was to confiscate the national army’s heavy and mechanized weaponry for use to illegally and forcefully change the leadership of the country. Thanks to the national army that repulsed them.
The federal government has since put in place efforts to restore peace in Tigray including declaring a unilateral ceasefire in June, sending elders to Tigray for dialogue and negotiation as well as providing and allowing access of humanitarian support to the affected areas, which efforts were either rejected or are being frustrated by TPLF.
TPLF Starving Tigrayans
For selfish interests, the TPLF terrorists, have decided to deliberately starve millions of Ethiopians living in Tigray and they continue being adamant on calls to restore peace.
TPLF and its allies openly rejected the Unilateral Ceasefire announced by federal government in June. Instead of reciprocating it, they opted to fight-on. They have failed to appreciate the importance of peace to civilians and farmers who were yearning for relief to engage in their farming activities.
Reports of extrajudicial killings and damage to properties in their occupied areas have reached unprecedented levels. The number of displaced people who need humanitarian assistance increases everyday that passes by.
Nearly 500 humanitarian aid trucks that entered Tigray since July have never returned to fetch more support for those in need, according to UN Ethiopia. There are claims that the trucks were confiscated by TPLF who use them for among others ferrying troops.
International community on the spotlight
The Ethiopian government has on a number of occasions expressed concern over failure by the international community to condemn atrocities by TPLF on the people of Tigray and the legitimate government.
The European Parliament and the U.S last week blamed Addis Ababa for obstructing access to humanitarian aid to civilians in Tigray.
They demanded that government of Ethiopia immediately re-establishes communications, banking and other vital services within the region, a resolution Ethiopia says is biased and adds “salt in the injury.”
“Putting all the blame on a single party in a conflict while whitewashing the wrongs of the other, is not only biased but also unacceptable by any standard,” says the office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Government says it is absurd to expect unrestricted flow of humanitarian aid to the Tigray region while the TPLF is actively killing people within and in the neighboring areas.
“The government of Ethiopia would like to request the U.S and its partners to stop unbalanced treatment of the conflict in Ethiopia with their oversized sympathy and attention to the TPLF. They should also stop downplaying the suffering of the people outside Tigray at the hands of the TPLF. The TPLF should not be allowed to wave the flag of peace when it senses defeat on military fronts and dupes the international community for its commitment to unconditional negotiation,” adds the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Recently, Ethiopia declared as Persona Non Grata, seven UN staff including senior humanitarian officials on grounds of meddling into the internal affairs of the country.
The international media has also been condemned for what seems to be a syndicated move to undermine efforts of the Ethiopian authorities to restore normalcy in the Tigray region. They have alleged arbitrary arrests, detention and what they are referring to as “near genocide” by the Abiy administration.
The claims, government says, are false and are only aimed at advancing the agenda of the armed group, whose point of disagreement is not anchored on principle but from the anger of their unexpected loss of influence in matters of the country.