Ethiopia denies military plane shot down by rebels

The Ethiopian military has rejected claims that its plane which crashed in the Tigray region on Wednesday was shot down by rebels.

An army spokesman told the BBC that the military plane suffered a mechanical problem. It has not said how many people were onboard.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) alleged that its forces struck an aircraft carrying ammunition and soldiers wearing Eritrean uniforms.

Eritrea has been fighting alongside the Ethiopian government in the conflict in Tigray.

Over the past week fighting has escalated in the region, with the Ethiopian air force accused of carrying out an airstrike on market, killing and wounding dozens of civilians. The Ethiopian military has denied targeting civilians.

Images of the crash site, shared by Tigray’s rebels, show what is believed to be a C-130 Hercules transporter plane completely decimated.

The BBC has examined some of the photos and videos of the wreckage. People can be heard mentioning the crash site as Adi Qaela, about 25km (15.5 miles) south-west of the regional capital Mekelle.

The TPLF said its anti-aircraft guns had shot the plane down as part of its current counter-offensive against the government.

Once peaceful areas close to Mekelle are now experiencing renewed violence.

There is growing international concern about the resurgence in fighting, especially as all sides have been accused of carrying out mass killings and human rights violations.

More than five million people are in urgent need of food aid and the United Nations warns 350,000 of them are facing famine conditions.

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