Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Friday said the “first round of operations” against the forces of the state of Tigray in the northern region has been carried out in the form of airstrikes, reported Africa News.
He asserted that the striked carried out in multiple locations in Mekele destroyed rockets and other heavy weapons belonging to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in order to render any retaliatory attack impossible.
Speaking on state television on Friday, Prime Minister Abiy indicated that more airstrikes were on the way.
“There will be airstrikes. These airstrikes aren’t aimed at civilians but rather at targets stored by this dangerous group,” he said, referring to the cache of arms and ammunition held by Tigray’s ruling party.
Abiy urged the people of Ethiopia to reduce mass gatherings to avoid becoming “collateral damage” in the conflict
“In order not to cause collateral damage, I call on civilians in cities to reduce mass gatherings,” he added.
On Wednesday, Abiy clarified that he had ordered military operations in Tigray in response to an attack on a federal military camp by the TPLF. But The TPLF has denied that the attack occurred and accuses Abiy of making up the story to justify deploying the military against it.
The military escalation followed months of rising tensions between the federal government and Tigray. Tigrayan leaders even held regional elections in September in defiance of the federal government, which called the vote “illegal”.
On Thursday, the Tigray administration said it was well equipped to deal with an attack from any direction.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said he was deeply alarmed by fighting in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.
“The stability of Ethiopia is important for the entire Horn of Africa region. I call for an immediate de-escalation of tensions and a peaceful resolution to the dispute,” Guterres said in a Twitter post on Friday.