The conflict in the Ethiopian rebel region of Tigray has intensified and threatens to spread to neighboring Eritrea. The head of the People’s Liberation Front TPLF, Debretsion Gebremichael, confirmed on Sunday that his armed forces had bombed the airport in Eritrea’s capital Asmara the day before. Diplomats initially reported rocket attacks on Asmara and a severe escalation of fighting in the region that broke out earlier this month.
The TPLF, which ruled Tigray in Ethiopia, had previously threatened missile attacks on targets in Eritrea. The People’s Liberation Front accuses Eritrea of that ethiopian government to support in conflict with the TPLF. Gebremichael was elected head of government in the breakaway region of Tigray in September. The central government in Addis Ababa did not recognize the election, however, which has now led to the military conflict.
There have been tensions in Tigray for years because the TPLF, for its part, does not recognize the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year.
At the beginning of the month the conflict between the forces of the Ethiopian central government in Addis Ababa and the fighters of the TPLF then escalated: According to the Sudanese refugee agency, at least 21,000 Ethiopians have fled the fighting in neighboring Sudan since then. The human rights organization Amnesty International reported one last week massacre of civilians in Tigray, probably with hundreds of deaths.