Nearly 100 Ethiopian soldiers were treated at a hospital in the northern Amhara area of the country for gunshot wounds, a medical official said Sunday, pointing to heavy fighting in the internal conflict in the country.
The toll comes as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and military leaders tout the victories of Ethiopian soldiers against forces loyal to the ruling party in the northern area of Tigray, where last week Abiy ordered military operations.
A communication blackout in Tigray makes it difficult to verify official claims about the fighting, but ambulances can often be seen ferrying wounded combatants to hospitals on roads in the northern part of Ethiopia’s Amhara region.
98 government soldiers were treated for ‘gunfire’ injuries in the town of Sanja, a doctor told AFP.
“We’ve already had 98 cases. All of them are national army soldiers,’ said the doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
He said that there were no deaths at the hospital, but noted that more critical cases were transferred to larger hospitals in Gondar City and elsewhere.
In recent days, reports of dead and injured soldiers have been published in the Amhara region, where a humanitarian aid worker confirmed three deaths and 35 were treated on Saturday. On Friday, 105 people in the area were reported injured and five were killed.
They correlate with rising civil war concerns after Abiy, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, sent federal troops and aircraft to Tigray in a long-running feud in a significant escalation.
Last week, Abiy ordered airstrikes on military facilities in the regional capital, Mekele, while warning more would be on the way and urging civilians to avoid ‘collateral damage’ mitigation gatherings.
An “ongoing air strike in Mekele” near the airport was confirmed on Sunday morning by a UN advisory distributed with an update saying “there was only one strike heard and the subsequent ripost[sic] from the ground.”
A UN source told AFP on Saturday that an internal security report said Tigrayan forces were keeping the headquarters of Ethiopia ‘s Northern Command in Mekele.
The main base is one of the most heavily armored in the country, a legacy of the war between Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea that borders the area of Tigray.
A state media article Sunday quoted Deputy Army Chief Berhanu Jula as saying that federal forces had “completely destroyed the traitorous clique’s heavy weapons,” a reference to the regional ruling group, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Berhanu also said that four towns in western Tigray, where most of the fighting has reportedly been concentrated, were “completely seized” by federal forces. (afp) (AFP)