Ethiopia Tigray government bombs airports

Cara Anna
·2-min read

Ethiopia's defiant Tigray regional government has fired rockets at two airports in the neighbouring Amhara region as a deadly conflict threatens to spread into other parts of Africa's second most populous country.

The Tigray regional government in a statement on Tigray TV said such strikes will continue "unless the attacks against us stop".

The federal government said the airports in Gondar and Bahir Dar were damaged in the strikes on Friday, asserting that Tigray regional forces are "repairing and utilising the last of the weaponry within its arsenals".

The deadly fighting that erupted in the northern Tigray region on November 4 has reportedly killed hundreds on both the federal government and regional government sides, sent well over 14,000 refugees fleeing into neighbouring Sudan and raised international alarm about a possible civil war at the heart of the Horn of Africa.

Each side regards the other as illegal, the result of a months-long falling out amid dramatic shifts in power after Ethiopia's Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office two years ago.

The Tigray regional government, which once dominated the country's ruling coalition, broke away last year and the federal government now says its ruling "clique" must be arrested and their well-stocked arsenal destroyed.

The international community is warning against deadly ethnic tensions. The UN office on genocide prevention has condemned reports of "targeted attacks against civilians based on their ethnicity or religion" in Ethiopia, warning that the rhetoric sets a "dangerous trajectory that heightens the risk of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity."

Communications and transport links with the northern Tigray region remain severed, making it difficult to verify claims on both sides of the fighting.

Desperate families cannot reach relatives, and the United Nations and other humanitarian organisations warn of disaster as food, fuel and other supplies run short for millions of people.