Ethiopian denies smuggling weapons during Tigray conflict

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Ethiopian Airways, the flag carrier of Ethiopia, said it was not aware of its aircraft having been used to transport large amounts of weapons during the war in Tigray. 

“Ethiopian Airlines would like to confirm that to the best of its knowledge and its records, it has not transported any war armament in any of its routes by any of its aircraft,” company’s spokesperson responded to Bloomberg’s question. 

The statement follows an extensive expose, published by CNN on October 6, 2021. According to the report, the airline had transported large amounts of small arms, ammunition, artillery pieces, as well as food for soldiers following the start of Ethiopia’s campaign in Tigray region.

CNN’s piece includes documents, eyewitness accounts, pictures, and other material allegedly exposing the airline’s scheme to supply the Ethiopian army on its campaign.

According to the article, the airline, which is government-owned, has conducted numerous flights between Addis Ababa and the Eritrean cities of Asmara and Massawa, transporting weapons on what was registered as commercial flights. 

Several experts, interviewed by CNN, allegedly confirmed that such actions would constitute a violation of international law, as commercial airlines are not allowed to participate in military actions.

The conflict in Ethiopia’s region of Tigray started in November 2020 and resulted in multiple reported counts of ethnic cleansing and other war crimes. 

There have been numerous reports of Ethiopian Airlines’ aircraft being used for weapons shipment in the past, with the airline denying its participation.

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