Ethiopian federal forces have been at war with the regional government of Tigray, which borders Eritrea and Sudan, since early November, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abi Ahmed announced military strikes, including airstrikes.
Humanitarian sources later told CNN that “there have been frequent bombings near a church and university in the Tigre capital, McCall.” Many people have been killed and injured in the area.
Abiya’s government did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It previously denied refusing to bomb civilian areas, accusing Tigre of harboring military equipment in schools, mosques and churches.
On Wednesday, government spokesman for Ethiopia’s emergency task force, Redwan Hussein, told CNN that federal forces were closing down McClellan.
Humanitarian evidence also shows that tens of thousands have been displaced since the fighting began. The UN said earlier this month that more than 30,000 Ethiopian refugees had entered neighboring Sudan to escape the conflict.
Aid groups operating in the region have also raised warnings of a growing humanitarian crisis and called for urgent access to the region. The United Nations says an additional 1.1 million people are in need of emergency assistance.
Tigray’s ruling party, the DPLF, has refused to surrender, accusing federal forces of killing civilians in the past – a denial by the Ethiopian government. CNN was unable to verify claims from either side due to a communication blackout.
Rising conflicts have called for international control as political analysts and diplomats warn that a collapse into civil war will not only destabilize the country of 110 million people, but may hurt the vast horn of Africa.
Bethlehem Felek Report from Nairobi. Jamira Rahim wrote in London.