Dozens hit in Ethiopia market airstrike on Tuesday

"There were lots of injured people and dead people," said 20-year-old survivor Birhan Gebrehiwet, whose house next to the market was destroyed by Tuesday's blast.

Relatives of Togoga residents, a village about 20km west of Mekele, where an alleged airstrike hit a market leaving an unknown number of casualties, wait for information as Red Cross ambulances are standing by after being denied access to the site, at the Ayder referral hospital in Mekele, the capital of Tigray region, Ethiopia, on 23 June 2021. Picture: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP

MEKELE - Dozens of people were wounded or killed in an airstrike on a market in the town of Togoga in Ethiopia's conflict-hit Tigray region, witnesses told AFP on Wednesday.

"There were lots of injured people and dead people," said 20-year-old survivor Birhan Gebrehiwet, whose house next to the market was destroyed by Tuesday's blast.

"We were stepping on them and in their blood," she added.

Birhan said she was selling drinks around lunchtime when the attack happened. "I am sure it came from the air," she added.

An emergency worker at a hospital in the regional capital Mekele, 30 kilometres away, said six wounded people had so far been admitted - including three young children - but that soldiers were preventing others from leaving Togoga.

"There are 45 injured people who are denied access, they risk death," said the emergency worker.

An ambulance driver said he was also being prevented from driving to Togoga.

"I tried to leave Mekele four times today to try and help people, but the soldiers are not letting us go," he said.

Ethiopian troops, backed by Eritrean soldiers, have been fighting in Tigray since November to oust the renegade regional leadership.

Relatives of one man who was seriously wounded in the attack said he had witnessed two explosions, both fired from aircraft.

Ethiopian officials did not immediately respond to AFP requests for comment about the attack.

On Monday, elections were held across much of Ethiopia but there were no polls in Tigray because of the ongoing conflict which, according to the UN, has pushed 350,000 people to the brink of famine.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.