600 Killed in Tigray Unrest, Ethiopia Rights Body Says

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600 Killed in Tigray Unrest, Ethiopia Rights Body Says
Nwolu Obiajulu

A rampage carried out by a local youth group assisted by police and militia led to the slaughter of at least 600 people on November 9 in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, the national human rights body said.

The bloodbath in the town of Mai-Kadra is the most violent attack on civilians during Ethiopia’s ongoing internal conflict between federal forces and leaders of Tigray’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

According to an earlier report by Amnesty International, “scores, and likely hundreds, of people were stabbed or hacked to death” in the November 9 attack in Mai-Kadra.

However, a report by Ethiopian Human Rights Commission on Tuesday provides a more concrete account, faulting the Tigrayan youth group known “Samri”.

The report indicted the Samri for targeting non-Tigrayan seasonal labourers working on sesame and sorghum farms in the area.

The EHRC is a government-affiliated but independent body whose chief commissioner, Daniel Bekele, was appointed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

the reports said that the perpetrators “killed hundreds of people, beating them with batons/sticks, stabbing them with knives, machetes and hatchets and strangling them with ropes. They also looted and destroyed properties.”

The attack “may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes,” it said.

Sources including eyewitnesses and members of a committee formed to bury the dead “estimate a minimum of 600 have been killed and say the number is likely to be higher still,” the report said, though it noted the death toll remains imprecise.

“A mismatch between the large number of bodies and limited burial capacity meant that burial took three days,” the report said.

Abiy announced military operations in Tigray on November 4, saying they were in response to attacks on federal military camps orchestrated by the TPLF leadership.

His office has seized on media reports blaming pro-TPLF forces for the Mai-Kadra massacre, saying such “atrocities” demonstrate why its leaders must be stripped of all power.

Yet Tigrayan refugees from Mai-Kadra who have fled across the border to Sudan blame government forces for killings there.

The United Nations and human rights groups have called for an impartial probe to determine exactly what happened.

Tigray remains under a communications blackout and media access to the region has been restricted.

Reacting to the development, former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, in a post on his verified Twitter handle, @GEJonathan, said, “Ethiopia is the Cradle of Human Life and Civilisation. 3500 years ago, Moses found refuge in Sheba’s peaceful borders. 1400 years ago, the Companions of Prophet Mohammed (SAW) found refuge in the Bliss of Abyssinia.

“It is my hope that as Ethiopia once gave peace to the world, she would find peace within her borders and continue being an African showcase of peace and prosperity.”

 

Source: Punch

This post was written by Nwolu Obiajulu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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