The government of Ethiopia has accused forces of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) of destroying Axum airport in the country’s northern region.“Frustrated TPLF troops had destroyed the airport serving Axum, a town northwest of Mekelle, and is a popular tourist draw and a UNESCO World Heritage site,”the Government’s Emergency Task Force said on Monday.
Legend says it was once home to the Queen of Sheba and that an Axum church housed the Ark of the Covenant.
“TPLF extremists ruined the Axum airport and plowed the runway at 26 places by bulldozers” the statement said.
Prime Minister Abiy launched what he called ‘law enforcement operation’ in the northern Tigray region on Nov. 4, after TPLF forces allegedly attacked a base, killing soldiers and looting military assets.
The mountainous Axum town and surrounding areas are the most preferred tourist destinations for air navigation.
The UNESCO’s world heritage site is located in the town which has a standard international airport.
The airport built with an outlay of more than $14 million, is popular among tourists in providing a 24-hour service.
The obliteration of the airport is believed to affect repair works on the Axum monument.
Despite infrastructural damage, the National Defence Force of Ethiopia is continuing to toughen its law enforcement operation until the rule of law is ensured in Tigray Regional State, it said.