— The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) criticised an airstrike that “struck a kindergarten” in Ethiopia’s Tigray area on Saturday, killing at least four people, including two children.
The strike in Mekelle, Tigray’s capital, came just days after combat broke out on the region’s southern border between government forces and rebels, breaking a five-month truce.
“UNICEF strongly condemns the air strike… that hit a kindergarten, killing several children and injured others,” said Catherine Russell, UNICEF’s executive director, on Twitter.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls the northern province, said the air raid destroyed a kindergarten and hit a civilian residential area, claims disputed by the government.
Addis Abeba claimed that the attack exclusively targeted military targets and accused the TPLF of faking civilian casualties.
Kibrom Gebreselassie, chief clinical director at Mekelle’s Ayder Referral Hospital, told AFP that the strike killed four individuals, two of whom were children.
He claimed nine others were being treated for injuries.
Tigrai TV, a local network, reported seven deaths and showed footage of damaged playground equipment at the apparent scene of the strike.
Russell claimed that Ethiopia’s 21-month war in the north had “forced children to pay the highest price.”
“Children and their families in the region have been subjected to the misery of this conflict for nearly two years. It has to end, “She stated.