The regional government of Tigray fired rockets at two airports in Ethiopia’s neighboring Amhara region.
The deadly conflict between the Ethiopian national government and the Tigray region threatens to spread to other regions of Africa’s second most populous country.
In a statement on Tigray TV, the federal government said such strikes will continue “Unless the attacks on the armed forces of Tigray cease“.
He also said that the airports of Gondar and Bahir Dar were damaged in the Ethiopian airstrikes last Friday, which would justify the use by the Tigrayan army of the last weapons of its arsenal.
The deadly clashes that erupted in the northern Tigray region on November 4 left hundreds of federal and regional governments dead, sent more than 17,000 refugees to neighboring Sudan and raised international alarm over a possible civil war in the heart of the Horn of Africa.
Each side sees the other as illegal, the result of a month of talks amid dramatic changes in power after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Nobel Peace Prize winner, took office two years ago . The Tigray regional government, which once dominated the ruling coalition, broke up last year and the federal government now says its ruling “clique” must be stopped and its well-stocked arsenal destroyed.
Fears of ethnic targeting are increasing. Tigray’s regional government, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray, in a statement denied allegations that dozens if not hundreds of civilians were “cut to death” on Monday in the regional town of Mai-Kadra. The massacre was confirmed by Amnesty International, which quoted a man helping to remove the bodies as saying that many of the dead were ethnic Amharas.
The international community warns of deadly ethnic tensions. The United Nations Office for the Prevention of Genocide has condemned reports of “targeted attacks against civilians because of their ethnicity or religion” in Ethiopia, warning that the rhetoric sets a “dangerous course that increases the risk of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity “.
Communications and transport links with the northern Tigray region remain cut, making it difficult to verify the claims of both sides in the fighting. Desperate families cannot reach loved ones, and the United Nations and other aid organizations are warning of the disaster as millions of people lack food, fuel and other supplies.
There is no sign of letting up in the fighting. Abiy rejected growing calls from the United States and other countries for immediate de-escalation.