The battle for Mekelle: Ethiopia’s civil war over Tigray goes on

The battle for Mekelle: Ethiopia’s civil war over Tigray goes on – in pictures

 A Tigrayan militia assembles on the outskirts of Mekelle as they wait to be deployed to the frontline. Many of the Tigrayan fighters are teenagers

(Theguardian)—An estimated 2.2 million people have been forced from their homes and thousands have been killed in the civil war that broke out in Ethiopia last November when government troops entered Mekelle, capital of the Tigray region. Witnessed by photographer Sergio Ramazzotti, the city was retaken by the Tigray Defence Forces in June, but peace in the region seems a long way off

  • All photographs by Sergio Ramazzotti/Parallelozero
The market at Togoga (or Togogwa), a small town of 1,000 people 20 miles (35km) from Mekelle, was hit on 22 June in an airstrike by the Ethiopian air force. The attack left at least 64 dead and wounded almost 200. The Ethiopian army finally allowed ambulances to get to the casualties 29 hours after the attack
The village of Melazat bears the signs of the Ethiopian army’s sudden retreat from Mekelle, 15 miles to the east, on 28 June, as Tigrayan forces were fighting their way into the regional capital
People collect cereals and cooking oil at a food aid distribution centre in Mekelle. The conflict has isolated the region of Tigray and food supplies are becoming scarce. Humanitarian convoys struggle to bring aid to the thousands of people at risk of starving, with electricity and communications infrastructure badly damaged
About 8,500 people of the millions displaced by the war have sought shelter in Hadnet secondary school in Mekelle. Food and water are in short supply, and there are countless reports of women and children having been raped by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers
On 23 June the Ayder hospital in Mekelle, one of the three still operational in Tigray, was suddenly flooded with wounded civilians after the Ethiopian airstrike on Togoga
Staff at Mekelle’s Ayder hospital look on as the casualties arrive from the Togoga airstrike

Casualties are assessed at Ayder hospital. In the background, doctors treat Genet Tsegay, 12, who had her right arm severely damaged by shrapnel, while her mother, Tsigabu Gebreterisae, 45, is overcome with emotion. Genet’s arm eventually had to be amputated
Genet Tsegay with her mother, Tsigabu Gebreterisae, in the recovery unit of Ayder hospital. Genet’s brother was killed and she lost her right arm in the Ethiopian forces’ airstrike on Togoga
On 29 June, and during the following days, Ayder hospital was flooded with wounded Tigrayan militiamen, who had entered the city that morning
Residents of Mekelle welcome Tigrayan fighters on 29 June, the day after the Ethiopian army suddenly evacuated the regional capital
People gather on the streets of Mekelle to celebrate the arrival of Tigrayan soldiers. Having approached the city during the night, the Tigray Defence Forces entered the city early on 29 June, a day after the Ethiopian army suddenly left
Exhausted Tigrayan soldiers in the centre of Mekelle watch a local woman appearing to give thanks for divine intervention
Local youths celebrate in Mekelle to welcome the liberating Tigray Defence Forces
More than 6,000 Ethiopian prisoners of war, captured during the last days of the struggle for Mekelle, are marched to the prison between lines of local residents on 2 July
Captured Ethiopian soldiers are taken through the city to prison by lorry, under the watchful eye of armed guards
The Ethiopian PoWs are marched past jeering crowds on their way to prison in Mekelle
On Mekelle’s outskirts, Tigrayan militiamen, many of whom are underage boys and girls, prepare to be deployed on active service
Two young women with assault rifles and civilian clothes await their orders for deployment to the frontline
On the outskirts of the city, Tigrayan militias assemble as they await orders
Hagush Gebremedhin, 50, is one of the nurses at a Ayder hospital clinic for victims of sexual violence. There are many reports of women and children having been raped, sometimes for days, by Ethiopian or Eritrean soldiers FacebookTwitter
Desta Gebremedhin, 32, a journalist of Tigrayan origin, was working in Nairobi, Kenya, for the BBC when the conflict broke out. He returned to Ethiopia to join the Tigray Defence Forces FacebookTwitter

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.