Ethiopian federal forces have been at war with local governments in Tigre, which borders Eritrea and Sudan, since early November, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abi Ahmed announced military strikes, including airstrikes.
The humanitarian source told CNN that there were occasional bombings near a church and university in the Tigris capital, McCall. Several people have been killed and injured in the area.
Abi’s government did not immediately respond to CNN’s comments. Bombing in civilian areas was previously denied. Tigre local forces alleged that military equipment had taken refuge in schools, churches and chapels.
Redwan Hussein, a government spokesman for Ethiopia’s Emergency Task Force, told CNN on Wednesday that federal forces were closing down McCall.
Human sources also told CNN that tens of thousands had been evicted since the fighting began. The UN said earlier this month that more than 30,000 Ethiopian refugees had fled to neighboring Sudan to escape the conflict.
Aid groups operating in the area are also sounding the alarm of a growing humanitarian crisis and urging people to enter the area immediately. The United Nations estimates that 1.1 million people are in urgent need of assistance.
The TPLF, Tigre’s ruling party, has refused to surrender and has previously accused federal forces of killing civilians – an argument the Ethiopian government denies. CNN was unable to examine any of the parties’ claims due to a communication blackout.
The escalating conflict has prompted international sanctions, with political analysts and diplomats warning that a fall into civil war would not only destabilize the country of 110 million people but also hurt the wider African region.
Bethlehem Felke reported from Nairobi. Sameera Rahim wrote in London.