Wars, conflicts, and political stability are just some of the reasons that would result in the decline of a particular state. Ethiopia held its elections at the start of this week and, according to its electoral body, the turnout was impressive and there was peace in most polling stations. However, there are some regions, like the Tigray area, that did not participate in the exercise due to conflict. Recently, there was an airstrike in Togoga town in the Tigray region which left many people dead and injured.
About the Togoga Airstrike
During the Tigray War, on June 22nd, 2021, an airstrike on Togoga in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region targeted the market of Togoga on a market day. Togoga, also called Togogwa, is a settlement in Tabiya Debre Nazret, woreda Inderta, Tigray’s Southwestern Zone.
An airstrike attacked the marketplace of Togoga, a community in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray Region, around 1 p.m. on June 22, 2021 (Tuesday). The airstrike claimed the lives of more than 50 people and injured another 200. Soldiers near Tukhul stopped ambulances that were attempting to reach Togoga, but another convoy of ambulances was able to reach Togoga via another route. Ethiopian forces shot at a column of ambulances on two separate occasions. Ambulances were able to transport more than 20 of the injured to Ayder Referral Hospital in Mekelle the next day.
The United Nations has expressed its concern about reports of police barring help from reaching the blast site.
Ramesh Rajasingham, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, says:
“Attacks directed against civilians and indiscriminate attacks are illegal.”
According to the EU, the obstruction of ambulances could amount to a violation of international law if confirmed. The EU further noted that the bombardment adds to a horrific series of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights and that it condemns the deliberate targeting of civilians.
The US State Department expressed its alarm about allegations of civilian deaths in the market strike and asked the Ethiopian government to provide enough medical care for all the injured. It also demanded an immediate and independent inquiry, and remedial action, to hold those responsible for this attack accountable.
What does Birhan Gebrehiwet say?
Birhan Gebrehiwet is a 20-year-old survivor of the incident. According to reports, the blast destroyed her house, which was close to the market.
“There were lots of injured and dead people. We were stepping on them and, in their blood,”
Birhan said that she was busy selling drinks around 1 p.m. when the attack happened. She confirmed that the attack came from the air.
Indeed, what happened to Togoga was really devastating. The deaths of those civilians hurt everyone, including the international parties who got involved in this issue. The Ethiopian government should find a way of compensating the victims and soothing the hearts of their families.
As the country has its ongoing elections till around September, it is important for the government to clear the current bad picture to regain the trust of the Togoga people.