Abiy Ahmed also said Parliament’s army would not destroy the Tigrayan capital, Mekelle, having recently captured it.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said federal troops hadn’t killed a single civilian in their nearly month-long offensive against regional forces in Tigray.

Abiy also assured parliament on Monday that the army would not destroy Mekelle, the capital of Tigray, after announcing their capture yesterday.

The Ethiopian government has tried to quell an uprising by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a powerful ethnic party that ruled the central government for nearly three decades until Abiy came to power in 2018.

Thousands of people are believed to have been killed since the fighting began, more than 43,000 have fled to neighboring Sudan and there are reports of armed groups attacking civilians.

“Every goal was signed and approved. The House [parliament] can see that. Every rocket launched is signed by the authorities, ”Abiy told the legislature.

“Ninety-nine percent of them achieved their goals and 99 percent of them had no collateral damage. No army in a country can show this level of performance. Our army is disciplined and victorious.

“They said you will destroy Mekelle and so on. Mekelle is ours. It was built with our resources, we will not destroy it. Not even a single person was affected by the operation. “

There was no immediate response from the TPLF, which accused the government of attacking civilians in air and ground fighting.

Claims by either side are difficult to verify as phone and internet connections to Tigray have been largely disrupted and access has been tightly controlled.

Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb, who reports from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, said Abiy’s claim contradicts what some humanitarian groups have been reporting.

“We recently had a report from the Red Cross that said that 80 percent of people in hospitals in Mekelle have trauma injuries, even though they do not say how they got those trauma injuries. They also say there is a serious shortage of medical supplies and body bags, ”said Webb.

On Monday, Tigray leader Debretsion Gebremichael said his forces were still fighting near Mekelle, which fell victim to government forces after nearly a month of fighting.

“I’m close to Mekelle in Tigray to fight the invaders,” Debretsion told Reuters in a text message that the government dismissed as a deluded claim.

Sudan is home to more than 43,000 refugees fleeing the fighting in Tigray [Baz Ratner/Reuters]Abiy’s government launched an offensive against the TPLF on November 4, accusing the former guerrilla movement of insurrection.

Federal forces announced that they had captured Mekelle, a highland town of 500,000 people, with relatively little resistance, despite the TPLF on Monday saying it shot down a plane and retook a town.

Debretsion, a 57-year-old former radio operator, also denied reports he fled to South Sudan, saying his forces captured some soldiers from neighboring Eritrea around Wukro, about 50 km north of Mekelle.


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