Ambulances blocked in Tigray – nurse

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Vivienne Nunis BBC Africa correspondent

The Ethiopian military has categorically denied targeting civilians in Tuesday’s airstrike on the village of Togoga in the Tigray region.

But the BBC has seen evidence of injured women and children receiving emergency treatment in Aider Referral Hospital in Mekelle after the attack.

A doctor at the hospital told the BBC that at least 60 people were killed and more than 40 were injured.

Some of the victims appear to have heavy wounds that look like they have been caused by shrapnel. A nurse at the hospital told the BBC that people were also injured by rocks that had exploded during the bombing.

The BBC was also told that Ethiopian soldiers blocked most ambulances from reaching Togoga.

The victims who reached the hospital said that they had seen many others lying on the ground but they were unsure whether they were dead or unconscious

Concerns were echoed by the International Committee of the Red Cross which issued a statement saying : “We cannot stress how vital it is for the medical mission to be respected and protected at all times.”

In a separate statement the ICRC said nine ambulances were able to transport patients to the Aider Hospital on Thursday.

An ICRC representative added: “Some of the injured people were in serious condition and getting them to a surgical theatre was a matter of life and death.”

The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borell has said that if it is confirmed that medical evacuations were prevented, it would be a grave violation of international law.

A man being treated at Aider Referral Hospital in Mekelle, Ethiopia