Brussels: The European Union on Sunday condemned reports of an airstrike on a kindergarten during renewed fighting in northern Ethiopia and called on the parties to engage in peace negotiations.
The fighting “endangers the lives of millions of people already in great distress,” European Council President Charles Michel wrote on Twitter.
Multiple civilians, including children, died in an airstrike on a kindergarten in the capital of the war-torn Ethiopian province of Tigray, dpa news agency reported quoting local media reports on Friday.
Reported airstrikes targeting civilians “cast a terrible shadow” on the Ethiopian government’s commitment to take part in peace talks, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.
Condemning the attack, the director of the UN’s children’s agency, UNICEF, Catherine Russell, said on Saturday on Twitter that seven people had been killed in the airstrike.
Fighting between the Ethiopian national army and fighters with the separatist Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) flared up again this week.
Fighting began in 2020, when the TPLF began efforts to break away from Ethiopia, prompting fighting that at times saw Tigray’s borders shut to food and aid and, at other times, saw TPLF fighters threatening to assault Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital.
According to the media reports, the Ethiopian military was behind the attack on Tigray’s capital Mek’ele. However, there was no comment from the military.
A government statement on Friday urged people in Tigray to keep their distance from military facilities, as some of those could be targeted.