The hospital in the town of Shire where victims were taken reported at least 55 people dead and 126 injured, according to an official in Tigray's capital Mekele.

Reports of the airstrike at the Dedebit camp in northwestern Tigray came a day after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed issued a message of reconciliation for Christmas after 14 months of war.
Reports of the airstrike at the Dedebit camp in northwestern Tigray came a day after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed issued a message of reconciliation for Christmas after 14 months of war. (Reuters)

Dozens of people have been killed in a drone strike on a camp for people displaced by the war in northern Ethiopia, Tigrayan rebels have said.

Getachew Reda, spokesperson for the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), said on Twitter on Saturday that an attack on the camp in the small town of Dedebit in northwestern Tigray "has claimed the lives of 56 innocent civilians so far".

The report could not be independently verified and there was no immediate response to requests for comment from Ethiopian government officials.

However, a senior official at the main hospital in Tigray's capital Mekele told AFP that the hospital in the town of Shire where the victims were taken had reported 55 people dead and 126 injured.

Getachew did not say when the reported strike occurred.

READ MORE: UN: Millions of Ethiopians will need food aid in 2022

Brutal conflict

The TPLF has been fighting Ethiopian army and its allies loyal to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed since November 2020 in a brutal conflict that has killed thousands of people and created a deep humanitarian crisis.

TPLF rebel forces withdrew to their stronghold in Tigray at the end of December in the face of a military offensive that saw government forces retake a string of strategic towns.

There has been something of a lull in fighting since the TPLF retreat, although the rebels accuse the government of continuing to carry out deadly drone attacks on Tigray, the northernmost region of Ethiopia.

The UN reported this week that three Eritrean refugees including two children had been killed in an air strike on a refugee camp in Tigray on Wednesday.

The region is under what the United Nations has called a de facto blockade that is preventing desperately needed supplies from reaching its six million people.

Access to Tigray is restricted and the region remains under a communications blackout, making it difficult to verify battlefield claims.

READ MORE: Ethiopia approves dialogue commission that won't talk to rebels for now

Source: AFP