News ID: 281095
Published: 0255 GMT February 26, 2021

Eritrean troops killed hundreds of civilians in Ethiopia’s Tigray: Amnesty

Eritrean troops killed hundreds of civilians in Ethiopia’s Tigray: Amnesty
AFP

Ethiopian refugees who fled the conflict in Tigray gather to receive aid at the Tenedba camp in Mafaza, eastern Sudan, on January 8, 2021.

Eritrean soldiers fighting across the border in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region killed hundreds of people in a massacre last year in a likely crime against humanity, Amnesty International said Friday.

The rights watchdog spoke to survivors of the atrocities and used satellite images to piece together the bloody events of last November in the ancient town of Axum in a new report, AFP reported.

“The evidence is compelling and points to a chilling conclusion. Ethiopian and Eritrean troops carried out multiple war crimes in their offensive to take control of Axum,” said Deprose Muchena of Amnesty International.

“Above and beyond that, Eritrean troops went on a rampage and systematically killed hundreds of civilians in cold blood, which appears to constitute crimes against humanity. This atrocity ranks among the worst documented so far in this conflict.”

Tigray has been the theater of fighting since early November 2020, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced military operations against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), accusing them of attacking federal army camps.

He declared victory after pro-government troops took the regional capital Mekele in late November, though the TPLF vowed to fight on, and clashes have persisted in the region.

Tigray has been without internet and difficult to access since the start of the conflict, making claims and counter-claims of violence hard to confirm.

The presence of Eritrean troops in Ethiopia is widely documented but has been denied by Addis Ababa and Asmara.

Eritrea fought a brutal border war with Ethiopia in 1998-2000, back when the TPLF dominated Ethiopia’s governing coalition.

Abiy won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 in large part for initiating a rapprochement with Eritrea, whose President Isaias Afwerki and the TPLF remain bitter enemies.

Amnesty said it had spoken to 41 survivors and witnesses of the violence who said that on November 19, 2020, Ethiopian and Eritrean military forces took control of Axum “in a large-scale offensive, killing and displacing civilians with indiscriminate shelling and shooting”.

 

 

 

 

   
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