Rockets fired at Eritrea’s capital in escalation of Ethiopia conflict

Refugees in Africa
The Canary

Rockets were fired at Eritrea’s capital, diplomats said, as the deadly fighting in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region appeared to spill across an international border.

Civil unrest

At least three rockets appeared to be aimed at the airport in Eritrea’s capital, Asmara, hours after the Tigray regional government warned it might attack. It has accused Eritrea of attacking it at the invitation of Ethiopia’s federal government since the conflict in northern Ethiopia erupted on November 4.

The deadly fighting that erupted in the northern Tigray region has reportedly killed hundreds on both sides, sent more than 17,000 refugees fleeing into neighbouring Sudan, and raised international alarm about a possible civil war at the heart of the Horn of Africa.

Map locates the Tigray area
Map locates the Tigray area (FDuckett/AP)

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front said in a statement on Tigray TV that such strikes would continue “unless the attacks against us stop”.

Damage

Ethiopia’s federal government said airports in Gondar and Bahir Dar were damaged in strikes late on 13 November, asserting that Tigray regional forces were “repairing and utilising the last of the weaponry within its arsenals”. On 14 November, the TPLF said it fired rockets at another part of Ethiopia, hitting two airports in the Amhara region.

Communications and transport links with the Tigray region remain severed, making it difficult to verify claims on both sides.

Desperate families cannot reach relatives, and the United Nations and other humanitarian organisations are warning of disaster as food, fuel, and other supplies run short for millions of people.

The European Union’s commissioner for crisis management Janez Lenarcic tweeted:

The military escalation in Ethiopia is risking the stability of the whole country and wider region.

Should this endure, a full-blown humanitarian crisis is imminent. I am calling for unimpeded humanitarian access to Tigray.

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us
The Canary