Ethiopia: PM Abiy rejects claims army killed civilians in Tigray

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Abiy Ahmed also told Parliament army would not destroy Tigrayan capital Mekelle after capturing it recently.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said federal troops had not killed a single civilian in their nearly month-long offensive against regional forces in Tigray.

Abiy also assured Parliament on Monday that the army would not destroy Mekelle, capital of Tigray, after announcing its capture yesterday.

The Ethiopian government has been trying to quell a rebellion by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a powerful ethnically based party that dominated the central government for nearly three decades until Abiy came to power in 2018.

Thousands of people are believed to have been killed since the fighting began, more than 43,000 have fled to neighbouring Sudan, and there are reports of armed groups attacking civilians.

“Every target has been signed and approved. The House [parliament] can see that. Every missile launched is backed by a signature of authority,” Abiy told lawmakers.

“Ninety-nine percent of them hit their targets and 99 percent of them didn’t have collateral damage. No country’s army can show this level of performance. Our army is disciplined and victorious.

“They said you will destroy Mekelle and so on. Mekelle is ours. It was built with our resources, we are not going to destroy it. Not even a single person was affected by the operation.”

There was no immediate response from the TPLF, which had accused the government of targeting civilians in air raids and ground fighting.

Claims from both sides are difficult to verify since phone and internet links to Tigray have been largely down and access has been tightly controlled.

 

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