Ethiopian drone strike kills 17 on Biden-Abiy call day

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Ethiopian drone strike kills 17 on Biden-Abiy call day

ADDIS ABABA – An Ethiopian drone strike killed 17 civilians in the Tigray region the day US President Joe Biden, during a call with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, expressed concern over such attacks in the ongoing war, according to local authorities.

A zone administration report said women at a flour mill were most of those killed in the drone strike on Monday near Mai Tsebri, a source who saw the incident told The Associated Press. report. The source requested anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

Such drone strikes have been reported almost daily in Tigray, an aid worker in the town of Shire told the AP, with an attack over the weekend on an IDP camp in Dedebit, killing at least 57 people and injuring more than 130, many of them. children. The aid worker shared photos of partially charred bodies and small corpses lying on the ground.

An Ethiopian government and military spokesperson did not answer questions about Monday’s drone strike.

Mr Biden expressed concern during Monday’s phone call with the Ethiopian prime minister over the detentions and killings of civilians in the war against Tigray forces while congratulating Abiy on the release of several first-rate political prisoners. plan.

The White House said Biden told Abiy about the airstrikes that continue to claim civilian lives and suffering in Africa’s second most populous country.

The statement added that the leaders “discussed ways to accelerate the dialogue towards a negotiated ceasefire, the urgency of improving humanitarian access across Ethiopia and the need to respond. the human rights concerns of all affected Ethiopians, including concerns about the detention of Ethiopians under the law. emergency state.”

Abiy on Twitter called the conversation with Mr Biden “frank” and both agreed “that it is very helpful to strengthen our cooperation through constructive engagement based on mutual respect.”

The call was requested by Mr Biden after Jeffrey Feltman, the outgoing US special envoy to the Horn of Africa, visited Ethiopia last week for talks with senior leaders.

The war that lasted for over a year created a devastating humanitarian crisis. The conflict entered a new phase in late December when Tigray forces withdrew to their area amid a new military offensive and Ethiopian forces said they would not advance there any further.

Biden stressed to Abiy that both sides must take advantage of the moment and called on the Ethiopian leader to improve humanitarian access, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on the leaders’ call under the guise of ‘anonymity. White House officials fear that if momentum is not sustained, the conflict – which has left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands threatened with starvation – could deteriorate further.

The Ethiopian government has sought to restrict reporting on the conflict and has arrested some journalists, including an independent PA-accredited video, Amir Aman Kiyaro.

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