Reports suggest no fewer than 12 people have been killed in an attack on a health centre in the north-eastern Afar region of Ethiopia, where fighting between Tigrayan rebels and pro-government forces has recently spread.
The Afar regional administration blames Tigrayan fighters for Friday’s attack. A spokesperson for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front has said the reports are alarming and it will investigate.
A hospital doctor who confirmed the deaths said they succumbed to injuries sustained in a heavy artillery attack on Afar’s Galikoma Health Centre.
He said almost 30 more men, women and children needed emergency treatment.
A spokesman for the Afar regional administration blamed Tigrayan forces – but the rebels haven’t commented on the attack.
The spokesman said many other civilians died at the scene though that hasn’t been verified.
The health centre was reportedly being used to shelter displaced people and to store food aid.
Last week the UN aid chief Martin Griffiths visited Ethiopia and said the number of Afar residents displaced by recent fighting had reached 54,000.
The nine-month war between Tigrayan rebels and the Ethiopian army and its allies has recently escalated in the regions of Afar and Amhara, in a sign instability in Ethiopia is growing.