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Dozens killed in airstrike on camp for displaced people in Tigray, Ethiopia

A child receives care at a hospital in Dedebit, Tigray, after a reported airstrike on IDP camp. Photo: Reuters/BBC

At least 56 people have been killed and 30 more wounded in an airstrike targeting a camp for civilians displaced by the brutal conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.

This latest airstrike brings the total number of civilian casualties from explosive weapon use recorded by AOAV in Ethiopia to 397 (146 killed, 251 injured), since the conflict began 14 months ago.

The airstrike is said to have taken place at an IDP camp around midnight on Friday 8 January in Dedebit, northwestern Ethiopian near the border with Eritrea. Local authorities in the region have confirmed the number of fatalities.

Many children were among the casualties, according eyewitness accounts from humanitarian workers. Images on social media and reporting by Reuters show people receiving treatment at Shire Suhul General Hospital.

Getachew Reda, a spokesman for the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), said in a tweet that “Another callous drone attack by Abiy Ahmed in an IDP (Internally Displaced People) camp in Dedebit has claimed the lives of 56 innocent civilians so far.”

The Ethiopian military and government have not claimed responsibility for the attack or responded to media requests for comment.

In 2021, AOAV recorded 311 civilian casualties from explosive weapon use in Ethiopia, 93% (288) of which were caused by State airstrikes. The highest casualty incident recorded to date occurred on 22 June, 2021, when 64 people were killed in airstrike on a market in Togoga, Tigray.

To date (10 January 2022), AOAV has recorded 397 civilian casualties (146 killed, 251 injured) of explosive weapon use in Ethiopia since the conflict began. It is important to note that these figures are likely an underestimation, as severe restrictions on media access in the country have hindered casualty reporting in English-language media.