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Ethiopia: Rockets hit Amhara state as violence in Tigray intensifies

Two rockets have hit Ethiopia’s Amhara state, amid fierce fighting in the neighbouring region of Tigray, the government says.

The explosions occurred in Bahir Dar and Gondar late on Friday, according to Amhara’s communication office and state news.

One of the rockets hit the airport in Gondar and left it partially damaged, according to a spokesperson for Gondar central zone, while a second one fired simultaneously is understood to have landed just outside of the airport at Bahir Dar.

Investigations are now underway to establish whether they are linked to fighting in Tigray. It is not known if there are any casualties.

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The UN has expressed concern over the growing crisis in Northern Ethiopia

Hundreds have been killed in clashes between government troops and forces loyal to the Tigray regional government since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent his national defence force into action on 4 November, following an alleged attack on a federal military base in the area.

Amhara regional state forces have been fighting alongside federal government forces.

As violence has intensified in recent days, scores of civilians have been stabbed and hacked to death in the northern Tigray region, according to Amnesty International.

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While the organisation has not confirmed who was responsible for the killings, witnesses have said that forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ruling party in Tigray, were behind the killings after suffering defeat from the federal Ethiopian defence forces.

It has been reported that most of the victims were ethnic Amharas.

Ethiopia’s human rights commission says it will be investigating the killings, which it said had a “reasonable risk” of being ethnically targeted.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
Image: Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has called for Tigray surrender

The United Nations has warned of possible war crimes.

Communication and transport links have recently been cut in the Tigray region, making verification of allegations difficult.

Mr Abiy, who last year won the Nobel Peace Prize for his sweeping political reforms, has called for rebel forces to surrender, and rejected calls for talks and de-escalation.

Refugees are fleeing Tigray and crossing the border into neighbouring Sudan
Image: Refugees are fleeing Tigray and crossing the border into neighbouring Sudan

Months of unrest have left the country on the brink of civil war, with the risk of conflict spreading to other parts of the country and destabilising the wider Horn of Africa region.

More than 14,500 Ethiopian refugees have crossed into Sudan since fighting started.

Ethiopia is the second most populous nation in Africa, with around 110 million inhabitants.

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