Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Monday summoned lawmakers for an extraordinary session of parliament amid the ongoing conflict in the Tigray region.
Nearly a month of fighting between Ethiopian federal forces and Tigray regional ones has threatened to destabilize Ethiopia, the linchpin of the strategic Horn of Africa, and its neighbors.
The involvement of Eritrea in the conflict has been alleged by refugees and the now-fugitive Tigray leaders but, like much in the sealed-off region, has not been verified.
Overnight, the US Embassy in Eritrea said six explosions were heard in the capital, Asmara.
It followed an embassy report of another “loud noise, possibly an explosion” on Friday, nearly two weeks after the Tigray regional leader confirmed firing missiles at the city.
The latest explosions came just hours after Abiy declared victory in his government’s fighting against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which has run the northern Tigray region.
The army said it was in “full control” of territorial capital Mekele but the government said TPLF leaders remain on the run.
Meanwhile, the Red Cross has said that the main hospital in Mekele is “dangerously low” on supplies as it treats the wounded from the fighting around the city.
In a rare report, the ICRC said the Ethiopian Red Cross ambulances had taken “injured and deceased people” to the Ayder Referral Hospital.
On a visit to the hospital, ICRC staff found “80% of patients to be suffering from trauma injuries” adding that other services had to be suspended “so that limited staff and resources could be devoted to emergency medical care”.
“The hospital is running dangerously low on sutures, antibiotics, anticoagulants, painkillers, and even gloves,” ICRC head in Ethiopia Maria Soledad said.
“The influx of injured comes more than three weeks after supply chains were disrupted into Mekelle. We need to ensure that health workers have the supplies and conditions they need to carry out their lifesaving work.”
The ICRC warned that food was also running low, the result of the Tigray region being cut off from outside aid for almost a month.