Abiy: Ethiopia federal forces have not killed civilians in Tigray


Abiy: Ethiopia federal forces have not killed civilians in Tigray

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told parliament on Monday that federal troops had not killed a single civilian in their nearly month-long offensive against rebellious local forces in the northerly Tigray region.

Abiy also said that his army would not destroy Mekelle, the capital of Tigray, after capturing it at the weekend.

There was no immediate response from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which had accused the government of targeting civilians in air strikes and ground fighting.

Claims from both sides are difficult to verify since phone and internet links to Tigray have been largely down and access has been tightly controlled since the war began on Nov. 4.

Over the weekend, the leader of rebellious forces in Tigray region said that Ethiopian government forces had began an offensive to capture the regional capital, Mekelle.

Debretsion Gebremichael, leader of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) told Reuters in a text message Mekelle was under “heavy bombardment”.

Billene Seyoum, a spokeswoman for the Prime Minister’s office, said that Ethiopian forces would not “bombard” civilian areas, adding “the safety of Ethiopians in Mekelle and Tigray region continues as priority for the federal government.”

Debretsion also accused the military of the neighbouring nation of Eritrea of raiding refugee camps in Tigray to capture refugees who had fled Eritrea.

Reuters was not immediately able to get comment from the Eritrean government.

Claims from all sides are difficult to verify since phone and internet links to the region have been down and access tightly controlled since fighting began three weeks ago between forces of the government and the TPLF.

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