The United Nations Human Rights Office says at least 108 civilians have been killed and several others injured in multiple airstrikes reportedly carried out by the Ethiopian Air Force in the country’s northern Tigre region since the start of the new year.
In the past two weeks, airstrikes have hit Tigre’s state-owned technical vocational education and training institute, a camp for displaced people, a flour mill, a private minibus and several other civilian targets.
UN Human Rights Office spokeswoman Liz Throsel says the number of dead and injured is based on information gathered from various sources by aides monitoring the situation in Ethiopia.
“The deadliest airstrike ever, which hit the Dedebit internally displaced persons camp on January 7, killed at least 56 people and injured 30 others. We have since established that the seriously injured were Three of the people later died in hospital during medical treatment, taking the death toll from that single strike to at least 59,” she said.
Thrussell says monitors continue to receive deeply disturbing reports of civilian casualties and destruction of civilian sites as a result of airstrikes in Tigre.
“We call on the Ethiopian authorities and their allies to ensure the security of civilians and civilian goods in line with their obligations under international law. Any attack, including airstrikes, shall fully comply with the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack. Must respect … Failure to respect principles of distinction and proportionality may be a war crime,” she expressed.
The Ethiopian government has not commented on allegations of responsibility for the airstrike in Tigre.
A UN report says tens of thousands of people have been killed and nearly two million displaced since a clash between pro-Ethiopian government forces and Tigreyan forces in November 2020. It said 5.2 million people are in need of life-saving assistance, along with 400,000. Living in a famine-like situation.