Rockets hit Eritrea capital after Ethiopia declares victory | Eritrea

The attack marked the third time that Asmara had been targeted by Tigray since military operations began on November 4th.

Missiles fired from Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region hit the capital Eritrea again, diplomats said on Sunday when the US embassy in Asmara reported “six explosions” in the city.

The explosions, which the embassy said took place around 10:00 p.m. on Saturday evening (7:00 p.m. GMT), came hours after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s victory in his military campaign against Tigray’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) had declared.

The attack marked the third time that Asmara had been targeted by Tigray since military operations began on November 4th.

The TPLF justified this attack by accusing Ethiopia of gaining Eritrean military support for its campaign in Tigray, which Ethiopia denies.

Two Addis Ababa-based diplomats told AFP news agency that several rockets fired Saturday night appeared to have hit Asmara’s airport and military facilities, although, as in previous attacks, it was unclear where they landed and what damage they were causing could have.

Eritrea is one of the most secret countries in the world and the government has not commented on the rocket fire. The TPLF views Eritrea, which has close ties to Abiy, as an archenemy.

Abiy, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said on Saturday evening that military operations in Tigray were “complete” after the army took control of the regional capital, Mekelle.

The TPLF said it would withdraw from Mekelle and promised to continue fighting while the pro-Abiy forces are present in Tigray, and analysts warned they could switch gears to use insurrection-style tactics.

Thousands have died in the fighting and tens of thousands of refugees have streamed across the border into Sudan.

Tigray suffered a communications failure throughout the conflict, making it difficult to assess the full number of fights, which included multiple rounds of airstrikes and at least one mass murder that resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths.

It was also impossible to independently verify Abiy’s claim that Mekelle, a town of half a million people, was completely under the control of the federal government.

Abiy said police are working to arrest the TPLF leaders, who were not immediately available on Sunday and whose whereabouts are unknown.

The TPLF dominated Ethiopian politics from 1991 to 2018 as the most powerful member of a multi-ethnic coalition that ruled with an iron grip. The last years of his rule were marked by bloody anti-government demonstrations with prisons full of tens of thousands of political prisoners.

When Abiy came to power in 2018, he accelerated democratic reforms: freeing prisoners, lifting bans on political parties, and promising to hold the nation’s first free and fair elections.

However, the TPLF and some other ethnic parties accuse him of wanting to consolidate control at the expense of the 10 regions of Ethiopia. The constitution gives them extensive powers on issues such as taxes and security.

This year Abiy postponed the elections scheduled for August until next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The TPLF accused him of taking power, held its own regional elections in September and announced that it would no longer recognize the federal authority.

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