Tigray: Two reports about the Togoga bombing

2021-06-24 10:45:38 Written by  Martin Plaut Published in English Articles Read 106 times

JUNE 23, 2021  ETHIOPIANEWSTIGRAY

Source: Sky News

Ethiopia: Dozens reportedly killed and injured after airstrike on Tigray village

Image:This infant was among those injured in the blast
 Dozens of people have been killed in Ethiopia’s Tigray region after an airstrike hit a busy market, according to witnesses.

Health workers said soldiers have blocked medical teams from travelling to the scene after the village of Togoga was struck.

The number of people killed has not been confirmed, but one doctor said “more than 80 civilian deaths” had been reported.

It comes amid some of the fiercest fighting in the Tigray region since the conflict began in November, as Ethiopian forces supported by those from neighbouring Eritrea pursue Tigray’s former leaders.


Injured patients being treated at Mekelle’s Ayder hospital said a plane dropped a bomb on Togoga’s marketplace.

She added that a baby died on the way to hospital after the ambulance carrying the infant was blocked for two hours.

One medical worker said six ambulances carrying around 20 health workers had attempted to reach the wounded but soldiers stopped them at a checkpoint before sending them back to Mekelle.

“They told us we couldn’t go to Togoga. We stayed more than one hour at the checkpoint trying to negotiate, we had a letter from the health bureau – we showed them. But they said it was an order.”

Several more ambulances were later sent away, but one group of medical workers managed to access the site on Tuesday evening via a different route.

One woman, who said her husband and two-year-old daughter were injured in the strike, said the bomb hit the market at around 1pm on Tuesday.

“We didn’t see the plane but we heard it,” she said. “When the explosion happened, everyone ran out – after a time we came back and were trying to pick up the injured.”

Residents said the violence had flared in recent days north of the regional capital Mekelle.

Image:A baby injured in the airstike is treated at the Ayder Referral Hospital in Mekelle

Medical workers have treated around 40 wounded people, but estimate the number of injured is likely higher as some people fled after the attack.

Five patients were said to need emergency operations but the health workers were unable to evacuate them.

A doctor in Mekele said: “We have been asking, but until now we didn’t get permission to go, so we don’t know how many people are dead.”

One Red Cross ambulance trying to reach injured people on Tuesday was shot at twice by Ethiopian soldiers, according to another doctor.

He said the soldiers held his team for 45 minutes before ordering them back to Mekele.

“We are not allowed to go,” he said. “They told us whoever goes, they are helping the troops of the TPLF.”

The TPLF stands for Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the political party which governed the region until it was ousted by a federal government offensive in November.

Ethiopia's Tigray conflict: PM says Eritrea will withdraw troops from region

 

Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict: PM says Eritrea will withdraw troops from region

The subsequent fighting has killed thousands, forcing more than two million people from their homes.

Witnesses have repeatedly accused Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers of looting and destroying health centres across the Tigray region and denying civilians access to care, while the United Nations has said all sides have been accused of abuses.

Commenting on the recent airstrike, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in Berlin: “The situation there is appalling.”

“Today a military airstrike has been producing a lot of casualties against the civilians,” he added.


Source: Al-Jazeera

Air raid kills dozens in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, say witnesses

Witnesses say Tuesday’s attack targeted a busy market in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray village of Togoga.

Dozens of people have been reportedly killed after an air attack targeted a busy market in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray village of Togoga on Tuesday, a day after residents said fighting had flared north of the regional capital Mekelle.

The bomb hit the market at approximately 1pm (10:00 GMT), according to a woman who told Reuters news agency that her husband and two-year-old daughter were injured in the attack.

“We didn’t see the plane but we heard it,” she said. “When the explosion happened, everyone ran out. Later, we came back and were trying to pick up the injured.”

Two doctors and a nurse in Mekelle told the Associated Press (AP) they were unable to confirm how many people were killed, but one doctor said health workers at the scene reported “more than 80 civilian deaths”.

The health workers spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.

Increased fighting

The reported air attack comes amid some of the fiercest fighting in the Tigray region since the conflict began in November as Ethiopian forces supported by those from neighbouring Eritrea pursue Tigray’s former leaders.

Reuters reported that Ethiopian military spokesperson Colonel Getnet Adane did not confirm or deny the incident. He said air attacks were a common military tactic and the force does not target civilians.

Three other health workers told Reuters that the Ethiopian military was blocking ambulances from reaching the scene.

Wounded patients being treated at Mekele’s Ayder Hospital told health workers that a plane dropped a bomb on Togoga’s marketplace.

A nurse at the hospital said the wounded included a two-year-old child with “abdominal trauma” and a six-year-old. She added that an ambulance carrying a wounded baby to Mekelle was blocked for two hours and the baby died on the way.

Hailu Kebede, foreign affairs head for the Salsay Woyane Tigray opposition party and who comes from Togoga, told AP that one fleeing witness had counted more than 30 bodies and other witnesses were reporting more than 50 people killed.

“It was horrific,” said an official for an international aid group who told the AP he had spoken with a colleague and others at the scene.

“We don’t know if the jets were coming from Ethiopia or Eritrea. They are still looking for bodies by hand. More than 50 people were killed, maybe more.”

Witnesses said several more ambulances were turned back later in the day and on Wednesday morning, but one group of medical workers reached the site on Tuesday evening via a different route.

“We have been asking, but until now we didn’t get permission to go, so we don’t know how many people are dead,” said one of the doctors in Mekelle.

Another doctor said the Red Cross ambulance he was travelling in on Tuesday, trying to reach the scene, was shot at twice by Ethiopian soldiers who held his team for 45 minutes before ordering them back to Mekelle.

“We are not allowed to go,” he said. “They told us whoever goes, they are helping the troops of the TPLF.”

The TPLF refers to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which governed Tigray until it was overthrown by a federal government offensive in November. The subsequent fighting has killed thousands and forced more than two million people from their homes.

While the United Nations has said all sides have been accused of abuses, Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers have been repeatedly accused by witnesses of looting and destroying health centres across Tigray and denying civilians access to care.

This month, humanitarian agencies warned that 350,00 people in Tigray are facing famine. Aid workers have said they have been repeatedly denied access to several parts of the region by soldiers.

The government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says it has nearly defeated the rebels. But forces loyal to the TPLF recently announced an offensive in parts of Tigray and have claimed a string of victories.

Last modified on Thursday, 24 June 2021 12:52