Mekelle: 10 May 2024 (Tigray Herald)

Ethiopia: More than 100 civilians killed by unexploded ordnance in Tigray

More than 100 civilians have lost their lives in the Tigray region of Ethiopia due to accidents involving unexploded ordnance (UXO) left behind after the two-year war in the region, local authorities reported.

Teklay Tesfaye, administrator of Kola Temben district, informed the BBC that 112 civilians have died in his district alone from UXO explosions. “There is almost no area where explosives have not been planted,” he stated, attributing the widespread contamination to the various forces involved.

According to Colonel Gebremichael Hagos, head of engineering at Tigray’s Peace and Security Office, the entire region faces risks from UXO scattered in residential areas, farmlands, and public spaces. He shared that the range of explosive threats encompasses small arms ammunition to aircraft bombs, posing dangers to returning displaced populations.

Authorities have focused on clearing schools before the resumption of classes, but limited resources hinder comprehensive efforts. “The main problem is the lack of finance and equipment. It cannot be done only by the capacity of the regional government,” Gebremichael said, calling for international assistance and collaboration.

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