An airstrike hit a busy market in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray village of Togoga on Tuesday, according to health workers who said soldiers blocked medical teams from traveling to the scene. Dozens of people were killed, they and a former resident said, citing witnesses.
Two doctors and a nurse in Tigray’s regional capital, Mekele, told the Associated Press they were unable to confirm how many people were killed, but one doctor said health workers at the scene reported “more than 80 civilian deaths.” The health workers spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.
The alleged airstrike comes amid some of the fiercest fighting in the Tigray region since the conflict began in November as Ethiopian forces supported by those from neighboring Eritrea pursue Tigray’s former leaders. A military spokesman and the spokeswoman for Ethiopia’s prime minister did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A doctor said the Red Cross ambulance he was traveling in on Tuesday while trying to reach the scene was shot at twice by Ethiopian soldiers, who held his team for 45 minutes before ordering them back to Mekele.
“We are not allowed to go,” he said. “They told us whoever goes, they are helping the troops of the TPLF.”
The TPLF refers to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which governed Tigray until it was ousted by a federal government offensive in November. The subsequent fighting has killed thousands and forced more than 2 million people from their homes.