An air attack carried out yesterday against a market in Togoga district, in the Ethiopian region of Tigray, against which the Ethiopian government has been carrying out an armed offensive since November last year, killed dozens of civilians, as confirmed this Wednesday to Efe Agency. humanitarian and medical sources working in the region.
“An attack of this proportion against a market with a civilian population, even if there were military targets, is a war crime because the principle of proportionality in international humanitarian law was not respected,” said the sources, who wanted to remain anonymous.
After the attack, ambulances and aid workers found it difficult to access Togoga and treat the wounded due to the Ethiopian military’s blockade, although they were later able to enter.
The air strike, which hit the town of Idagaselus in Togoga, about 25 kilometers from the region’s capital, Mekele, on Tuesday afternoon, also left “hundreds” injured, according to the same sources. “I saw more than 40 people injured in the attack,” a health worker at the Ayder Hospital, located in Mekele, where many victims of the attack were later transferred to Efe, told Efe.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said today in a statement that it participated in the evacuation of the wounded from the attacked city to Ayder Hospital and stressed that “it is essential that the medical mission is respected and protected at all times”.
Likewise, a source from the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission – an autonomously operating body, but appointed by the Ethiopian parliament – also confirmed the attack in Mekele to Efe and assured that their attempts to access the area to assess the damage and the number of victims were blocked by the military.
Efe has tried to contact the interim government of Tigray and the Ethiopian Ministry of Defense, but has not yet received a response.
The high representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign and Defense Policy, Josep Borrell, today condemned in a statement “the deliberate attacks against civilians” and the blocking of medical and humanitarian assistance after learning of the air strike.
“It is yet another attack that adds to the appalling series of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, atrocities and ethnic violence combined with serious allegations of the use of hunger and sexual violence as weapons of war,” Borrell lamented.
origin of conflict
The conflict broke out on November 4th after the Ethiopian government attacked the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (FPLT), the party that had ruled the region until then, in retaliation for an alleged previous aggression by Tigray forces against an army base. .
Since then, thousands of people have died, around two million have been internally displaced in the region and at least 75,000 Ethiopians have fled to neighboring Sudan, a country that borders Tigray, according to official figures.
In addition, human rights organizations have denounced the indiscriminate violence and atrocities committed against the civilian population in Tigray, including more than 1,000 documented cases of sexual violence, although the actual number may be much higher.