Ethiopia’s military has denied reports that dozens of civilians were killed in an air raid in the country’s troubled Tigray region, claiming that its forces only targeted rebels.
Multiple news outlets reported this week that dozens of innocent people were killed in an aerial attack on a busy market in the town of Togoga on Tuesday.

Colonel Getnet Adane, a spokesman for the army, told journalists on Thursday that the operation “dismantled” armed forces loyal to the northern region’s former ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

“We do not accept that this operation targeted civilians,” he said, noting that the insurgents were known to dress in civilian clothes.

Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Adow reported from Addis Abeba, quoting Getnet as saying that the TPLF fighters had gathered to commemorate Martyrs’ Day when the air raid occurred.
“He claimed they had intelligence and attacked a ceremony attended by many fighters commemorating the massacre carried out by the Derg regime at the time against Tigray rebels in 1988,” Adow said.

Survivors and medical personnel, on the other hand, described aerial explosions striking the marketplace at the height of trading, killing and injuring dozens of people, including children. According to a local health official cited by AFP news agency, at least 64 people were killed and 180 were injured, while medics told news agencies that the Ethiopian military was preventing ambulances from reaching the scene.

For nearly eight months, the Ethiopian military, aided by Eritrean troops, has fought forces loyal to the TPLF.
The conflict has killed thousands, if not more, and displaced two million people, resulting in a massive humanitarian crisis. The United Nations warned last week that 350,000 people in Tigray are facing famine, with another two million “just a step away.”
When asked about the children injured in Tuesday’s attack, Getnet stated that the TPLF employs propaganda and is known for fabricating injuries. He also stated that the doctors cited in the media are not “real doctors.”
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