PM Confirms Airstrike on Selected Target in Tigray Region

ADDIS ABEBA – Officials have confirmed airstrike hit in Ethiopia’s northern region Tigray as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced “the successful completion” of first round military operations against a faction of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Media reports said a fighter jet flew over Mekelle, the capital city of the region, and today after the outbreak of conflict earlier this week between federal and regional government troops.

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TPLF officials were quick to declare a no-fly zone over the region on Wednesday, although the region has no military aircraft.

The Prime Minister said the national defence forces had installed rocket launchers – which can hit targets within 300km range of where they are installed – and other weapons to protect the country from foreign enemies.

As per the operation, the Ethiopian Air Force “has fully annihilated” the rockets and artilleries which could possibly be used by the rebel faction there, he said.

Apart from their own admission, he said security forces assessments confirmed that TPLF forces had the intention to use them against the national defence forces and other areas.

Destroying them was a must although they were bought using the public resources, he said.

The air forces’ operation was part of three major objectives set to fully trouncing the rebel faction capacity and contain their capacity to target the defense force, police and infrastructures, according to officials..

A second plan which aimed at ensuring peace and security of the people in the region in particular and the country in general in motion, the government said on a day Civil Aviation Authority moved to temporarily shut of four Airports in Tigray.

‘Failed in attempts to avoid war’

Prime Minister Abiy said the federal government tried for several months to avoid a confrontation with the officials of the region but that the efforts had failed.

“We tried mediation, reconciliation, dialogue. All failed because of TPLF criminal hubris and intransigence,” Abiy said in a tweeted message earlier today.

The federal government launched a military operation against the TPLF forces on Wednesday after regional troops had attacked a military command post hosting federal troops, which the PM said “has crossed a red line”.

Since then, the defense force has mobilized its troops from around the country and sent them to the region as part of its operation “to restore the rule of law and the constitutional order, and to safeguard the rights of Ethiopians to lead a peaceful life wherever they are in the country”.

Abiy justified his decision to start military action in Tigray by saying it was necessary to disarm the TPLF, and added that the ongoing campaign had “clear, limited and achievable objectives”.

TPLF officials were not immediately available for comment. The government cut phone and internet communications in the region on Wednesday.

In a statement, the Prime Minister’s office accused TPLF leaders of hiding in the regional capital and “using the civilian population as human shields”.

“Members of the TPLF, who ruled the country for the previous 27 years through means of oppression rather than law, have been fugitives from justice,” it said.

The TPLF used to be the dominant force in Ethiopia’s ruling coalition but its power has waned since Abiy became prime minister in 2018.

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