Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that the country’s military has conducted airstrikes in the breakaway state of Tigray against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). 

“These airstrikes aren’t aimed at civilians but rather at targets stored by this dangerous group.” The operation will continue “until the junta is made accountable by law,” he said. 

Ahmed said that missiles, radar equipment, and rockets had been destroyed in the airstrikes around the regional capital of Mekelle. He specified that the destroyed rockets had a range of 300km (186 miles).

He left no doubt that the government intends to bring the Tigray group, which is located in the northern area of the country, to heel. He added that the “large-scale law enforcement operation” has “clear, limited and achievable objectives: to restore the rule of law and the constitutional order.” Many fear this may lead to an all-out civil war.

Primi Minister Ahmed described the Tigray leadership as “fugitives from justice [that] us[e] the civilian population as human shields.”

Birhanu Jula, Ethiopia’s deputy Army Chief, said that the military was entering into an unexpected conflict

“Our country has entered into a war that it did not want. This war is a shameful war. It does not have a point. The people of Tigray and its youth and its security forces should not die for this pointless war. Ethiopia is their country.” The military is mobilizing troops from around the country and sending them to the Northern Command to beef up its forces in Tigray.

The Ethiopian army’s base in Tigray has been seized by the TPLF.