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Archive for April 2nd, 2021

Guardian: 1,900 People Killed in Massacres in Tigray Identified | ፩ሺህ ፱መቶ የተገደሉ ትግራዋያን ተለይተው ታወቁ

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 2, 2021

List compiled by researchers of victims of mass killings includes infants and people in their 90s

Almost 2,000 people killed in more than 150 massacres by soldiers, paramilitaries and insurgents in Tigray have been identified by researchers studying the conflict. The oldest victims were in their 90s and the youngest were infants.

The identifications are based on reports from a network of informants in the northern Ethiopian province run by a team at the University of Ghent in Belgium. The team, which has been studying the conflict in Tigray since it broke out last year, has crosschecked reports with testimony from family members and friends, media reports and other sources.

The list is one of the most complete public records of the mass killing of civilians during the war, and will increase international pressure on Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, who has claimed that many reports of atrocities are exaggerated or fabricated.

Abiy launched a military offensive in November to “restore the rule of law” in Tigray by ousting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the political party then in power in the province, following a surprise attack on a federal army base.

The offensive was declared successful after the TPLF leadership evacuated its stronghold of Mekelle, the provincial capital, and an interim administration loyal to Addis Ababa was installed.

Mass killings and violence directed at civilians have continued since, however, as federal forces and their allies battle insurgents. There have been clashes in recent days around the town of Selekleka, on a key road in the centre of Tigray.

Twenty of the massacres the team listed – defined as incidents in which at least five people died – occurred in the last month. They include the killing of an estimated 250 civilians over three days in Humera, a town of significant economic and strategic importance in the far west of Tigray where the ethnic cleansing of local communities has been reported.

Eight days ago, Eritrean soldiers searching for suspected TPLF insurgents killed 13 people in Grizana, a village 50 miles south-west of Mekelle in an area where fierce fighting has taken place. The victims included three men in their 50s, several women, a 15-year-old and a two-year-old.

Prof Jan Nyssen, a geographer who led the investigation and who has spent decades living and working in Tigray, said the research was “like a war memorial”.

He said: “These individuals should not be forgotten and these war crimes should be investigated … The list is to show the magnitude of what is happening. We know there are many more but … we know the name and the circumstances of these 1,900.”

The list of identified victims was compiled after more than 2,000 telephone calls, including around 100 in-depth interviews with witnesses. The full list of victims the team has compiled from social media posts and other sources runs to more than 7,000. The main research findings based on the information were published on Thursday, and the names were released on Twitter.

The researchers found that only 3% of the identified victims had been killed in airstrikes or by artillery. Most had been shot dead in summary executions during searches or in organised massacres such as that at Aksum, in which 800 people are thought to have died, or at the town of Mai Kadra, where 600 died in violence blamed on militias loyal to the TPLF.

More than 90% of the victims identified were male. Among incidents where blame can be confidently determined, Ethiopian soldiers appear to have been responsible for 14% of the killings, Eritrean troops who have fought alongside federal forces 45%, and irregular paramilitaries from the neighbouring province of Amhara 5%. Witnesses blamed Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers operating together in 18% of cases.

Tim Vanden Bempt, one of the researchers, said the team’s list of massacres did not include perpetrators because information was often fragmentary.

“A lot is still unknown. There are many incidents where we can’t conclude which side is responsible for the moment. So for example, it is possible that there have been two or three massacres committed by TPLF-aligned fighters but we cannot say for sure,” he said.

Abiy publicly acknowledged the possibility of war crimes in Tigray for the first time last month. He told parliamentarians that despite the TPLF’s “propaganda of exaggeration … reports indicate that atrocities have been committed in Tigray region”.

He said war was “a nasty thing” and pledged that soldiers who had raped women or committed other war crimes would be held responsible.

Eritrean officials have described allegations of atrocities by their soldiers as “outrageous lies”.

Humanitarian officials have said a growing number of people could be starving to death in Tigray. Madiha Raza, of the International Rescue Committee, recently visited the province and said conditions were dire.

“The situation in rural areas is the worst. Medical centres, schools, hospitals, banks and hotels have been looted. People I interviewed had heard multiple reports of civilians being rounded up and killed. Farm animals and grain are being burned or destroyed and fear tactics are being used across the conflict,” Raza said.

There are continuing claims of widespread human rights abuses, including a wave of sexual assaults. More than 500 rape cases have been reported to five clinics in Tigray, the UN said last month. Actual numbers were likely to be much higher because of stigma and a lack of health services, it said.

Selam, a 26-year-old farmer, fled her home in the central town of Korarit with her husband and children and hundreds of others in mid-November “because the Amhara special forces were beating and killing people”. The family walked for a month to reach safety.

“We saw a lot of dead bodies during our journey … I witnessed a lot of women get raped in front of my eyes. Five or more troops would rape each woman. Some of them were left for dead because of how many men raped them,” she said.

Other witnesses described teenage girls with “broken bones after they’d been raped by 15 or 16 men each”. Metal fences have recently been installed at Mekelle University to protect hostels housing female students.

Ethiopia’s ambassador to the UN, Taye Atskeselassie Amde, said last week that his government took the allegations of sexual violence very seriously and had deployed a fact-finding mission

In a leaked recording of a meeting last month between foreign diplomats and an Ethiopian army general, Yohannes Tesfamariam, he described the conflict in Tigray as a “dirty war” and civilians as defenceless.

The lead author of the Ghent report, Dr Sofie Annys, said their maps and database would be updated on a regular basis.

Source

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Aid Organization Calls on President Biden to Hold Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed Accountable for Mass Killings in Tigray

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 2, 2021

On April 1, 2021, the B.B.C. published a video showing Ethiopian military forces carrying out a massacre in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. The video is one of the many confirmations that Ethiopian troops are committing mass atrocities against civilians in Tigray. The shocking video showing Ethiopian military personnel executing civilians and throwing their bodies off a cliff has been republished by CNN and other news outlets worldwide. The shocking video comes as no surprise for reports of mass killings and other human rights abuses being committed by Ethiopian and Eritrean military forces against civilians in Tigray have been widely reported.

While the United States Senate has taken action by putting forward Senate Resolution 97, the Biden Administration has taken no concrete action to protect civilians in Tigray or hold the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments accountable for the crimes committed by their armed forces and militia. Senate Resolution 97 condemns the atrocities taking place in Tigray, calls for independent investigations into the killings, and demands that the perpetrators of these crimes be held accountable.

The Tigray Center for Information and Communication (T.C.I.C) calls on President Biden to follow the Senate’s lead and take action to stop the crimes being committed in Tigray. The T.C.I.C calls on the Biden Administration to push for Global Magnitsky Act sanctions against senior members of the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments. The T.C.I.C also calls upon President Biden to work with Congress to institute a safe zone in Tigray for civilians seeking safety and for the U.S. to work with the United Nations to stop the flow of weapons and drones being used to kill civilians in Tigray.

Source

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CNN: ‘Two Bullets is Enough’ Analysis of Tigray Massacre Video Raises Questions For Ethiopian Army

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 2, 2021

CNN + Amnesty International | Shedding Light on a Clifftop Massacre in Ethiopia | የአክሱም ማኅበረ ደጎ ገደል ጫፍ እልቂት ሲገለጥ

My Note: The war criminal unEthiopian government which is thriving on hate and genocide wants to hide the truth by silencing some of us who are trying to share openly available informations about the ongoing genocide in Tigray. The goevenment just contactd Google with content removal requests on some of our YouTube channels. So, they seek to continue the genocide in Tigray.

Dawit was watching television at a relative’s one-room apartment in Axum, a historic city in Ethiopia’s war-torn, northern Tigray region, in early March when a news bulletin flashed up on the screen.

Graphic, unverified footage had surfaced of a mass killing near Dawit’s hometown of Mahibere Dego, in a mountainous area of central Tigray. In the shaky video Ethiopian soldiers appeared to round up a group of young, unarmed men on a wind-swept, dusty ledge before shooting them at point-blank range — picking them up by an arm or a leg and flinging or kicking their bodies off a rocky hillside like ragdolls.

The soldiers can be heard in the footage urging one another not to waste bullets, to use the minimum amount needed to kill and to make sure none of the group were left alive. They also appear to cheer each other on, praising the killings as heroic and hurling insults at the men in their captivity.

Dawit said he believes one of the men in the video, broadcast on a diaspora television station Tigrai Media House (TMH), was his younger brother, Alula. CNN has changed the names of both brothers for Dawit’s safety.

The mass killing near Mahibere Dego is one of several to have been reported over the course of Ethiopia’s five-month-old conflict during which thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed, raped and abused. But with independent access to journalists severely restricted until recently and telephone and internet services often blocked, it has been challenging to verify accounts of atrocities in Tigray. Amid the effective communications blackout, few videos have emerged from the fighting and those that have are difficult to authenticate.

Through a forensic frame-by-frame investigation of the video footage — corroborated by analysis from Amnesty International’s digital verification and modeling experts — as well as interviews with 10 family members and local residents, CNN has established that men wearing Ethiopian army uniforms executed a group of at least 11 unarmed men before disposing of their bodies near Mahibere Dego.

Footage obtained by CNN shows soldiers rounding up dozens of young men on a clifftop and checking if they’re armed. Credit: Tigrai Media House

Dawit said he last saw his 23-year-old brother — in the same clothes he is seen wearing in the video — at their mother’s house in Mahibere Dego on January 15. The video is not timestamped and CNN does not have the original, raw footage to examine the file’s metadata but it is likely the video was filmed that same day.

Dawit was out in the fields looking after his cattle when he said Ethiopian soldiers arrived in the town and went door-to-door dragging young men, including his brother, from their homes.

The troops shot at him, Dawit said, and he ran into the bush to escape, breaking his leg as he scrambled down a rocky path. Later, he said he could hear gunfire in the distance, and then silence.

Until he watched the video, he said he had no idea what had happened to his brother. But even after watching the footage countless times, Dawit said he is still holding out hope Alula is alive.

CNN is not able to independently verify that Alula is pictured in the footage, and the man that Dawit identifies as his brother is not identifiable among the dead.

“Since we didn’t see his body with our own eyes and bury our brother ourselves, it’s hard for us to believe he’s dead. It feels like he’s still alive, we can’t accept his death,” Dawit said.

“We will always remember him.”

After the attack, Dawit fled Mahibere Dego with two of his teenage siblings, limping 12 miles to their eldest brother’s home in Axum; hundreds of other residents displaced from the town and surrounding area are now sleeping rough in the city’s streets.

Dawit said the only people left in the town are those too elderly to make the trek — including his own mother. She doesn’t have internet access or satellite TV, so she hasn’t seen the gruesome video. Dawit has spoken to her over the phone — telephone networks in Mahibere Dego have been intermittent — but he hasn’t mentioned the footage. For now, he said, it is easier that way.

Ethiopia is facing a raft of intense scrutiny over human rights violations that may amount to war crimes in its Tigray region. Thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed since November, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a major military operation against Tigray’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), sending in national troops and militia fighters from Ethiopia’s Amhara region.

CNN has previously compiled extensive eyewitness testimony that soldiers from neighboring Eritrea had crossed into Tigray and were perpetrating massacres, extrajudicial killings, sexual violence and other abuses.

The state-appointed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission last week said its investigations found preliminary evidence that more than 100 people in Axum were killed by Eritrean soldiers in November, confirming earlier reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

In late March, Medecins Sans Frontieres said its staffers had witnessed Ethiopian soldiers drag several men off public buses and execute them near the Tigray capital, Mekelle.

Abiy said last week his government would hold accountable any soldier found responsible for committing atrocities in Tigray — acknowledging for the first time that Eritrean troops were fighting alongside Ethiopian forces and that they would withdraw from border areas. It is not clear whether Eritrean forces have pulled out of Tigray.

The Eritrean embassy of the UK and Ireland responded to CNN’s repeated requests for comment on March 22, denying allegations of wrongdoing by Eritrean soldiers and denying that Eritrean troops were in Ethiopia.

For months, both countries denied that Eritrean troops were in the war-torn region, and insisted no civilians have been killed in the conflict, contradicting accounts from residents, refugees, aid agencies, diplomats and Ethiopian civilian officials.

If the soldiers in the Mahibere Dego video are indeed Ethiopian National Defense Forces then it may be the first visual evidence of Ethiopia’s involvement in war crimes.

The Ethiopian government and its interim administration in Tigray did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on the video and accusations that its forces abducted scores of men from the Mahibere Dego area.

On Friday, after CNN’s investigation published, Abiy’s office said in a statement that “social media posts and claims cannot be taken as evidence, regardless of whether Western media report it or not.” The statement added that the government “has indicated its open will for independent investigations to be undertaken in the Tigray region.”

“Since we didn’t see his body with our own eyes and bury our brother ourselves, it’s hard for us to believe he’s dead. It feels like he’s still alive, we can’t accept his death. We will always remember him.”

The footage was initially broadcast in early March by Tigrai Media House (TMH), a pro-Tigray subscription satellite TV and YouTube channel based in the United States, and has widely circulated on social media in the weeks since.

Stalin Gebreselassie, a TMH journalist and presenter based in Washington, DC, told CNN he was sent the gruesome footage via a source in Tigray. The source told him that the video was filmed on a mobile phone by an Ethiopian army soldier turned whistleblower involved in the mass killing.

TMH paid the whistleblower directly for the footage, Gebreselassie said, so that he could leave Ethiopia and go into hiding. As part of the agreement, TMH waited until they had received word that he was safely outside the country before broadcasting the video.

“I managed to talk to him only for three minutes. The words he uttered to me were: ‘I’m so sorry brother … I am really sorry for what I did in Tigray, the Tigrayan people don’t deserve this,'” Gebreselassie said, describing his call with the whistleblower. Gebreselassie said that the whistleblower appeared to regret his involvement in the killing, and told him that he was sharing the video with TMH “to heal” and “expose what the Ethiopian government was doing to its own people.”

CNN was unsuccessful in its attempts to reach the soldier directly, and does not know the extent of the soldier’s involvement in the atrocities.

Gebreselassie said the footage was sent to him on WhatsApp in five compressed video clips, due to persistent internet bandwidth issues in Tigray, but maintains it was all filmed by the soldier on one device.

Without the raw footage and associated metadata, CNN cannot confirm the original device the five videos were filmed on, who filmed them, the date they were filmed or whether they were selectively edited.

Still, CNN was able to geolocate the video to a rugged clifftop three miles south of Mahibere Dego, identifying the terrain, tree line, vegetation and shape of the mountains on Google Earth.

Separately, Amnesty International said it confirmed the location in all five video clips using 3D modeling software that overlaid the footage on top of satellite imagery of the location.

Source

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Posted in Ethiopia, Infos, Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

#TigrayGenocide | Shedding Light On A Clifftop Massacre In Ethiopia | የአክሱም ማኅበረ ደጎ ገደል ጫፍ እልቂት ሲገለጥ

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 2, 2021

On an arid plateau somewhere in Ethiopia, a man in uniform pushes a dead body which goes tumbling head over heels off the edge of a cliff. More corpses are strewn around nearby rocks and boulders.

The scene comes from one of five graphic videos which started appearing from 9 March, 2021, on the EthiopiaMap Telegram channel. Viewed together, they show Amharic-speaking soldiers, one of whose uniforms bears the markings of the Ethiopian national flag on its sleeve, rounding up a group of around 25 to 30 people in civilian clothing. The captives file towards a precipice at gunpoint, where they are executed.

These videos were taken by the soldiers (mostly male and some female) themselves.

Since last November, a war has raged between Ethiopia’s federal government and rebel forces in the Tigray Region in the country’s North. Tens of thousands of civilians have fled across the border to neighbouring Sudan.

In recent months, credible reports of massacres, looting and rape have emerged from the region. As one UN official remarked to Britain’s Sky News this month “We don’t know what the situation is in rural parts of Tigray and what we don’t know really worries us”.

Bellingcat and colleagues from Newsy and BBC Africa Eye have located the execution videos from the EthiopiaMap Telegram channel to a cliff approximately 15 kilometres South of Aksum, a city in the wartorn Tigray Region. The closest town is Mahbere Dego, which may be the last place these men were seen alive.

Audible Clues

The language used by the soldiers can establish their likely origin. According to Gubae Gundarta Beyene, a translator and communications scholar at the University of Oregon who hails from Ethiopia, the soldiers in the videos are not speaking in Tigrinya or Arabic, the primary languages of Eritrea. Tigrinya is also the native language of the vast majority of the Tigray Region’s inhabitants and of TPLF supporters.

Instead, they are speaking Amharic — Ethiopia’s administrative language and the native tongue of the Amhara people. Gundarta, who produced a translation of the speech in the videos, stated that the soldiers’ accents indicate that they are mostly native Amharic speakers from the Amhara Region, though some may be second language speakers from the Oromia Region.

On several occasions in Video One and Video Two, the armed men describe their victims as “Woyane” (Amharic: ወያኔ, Tigrinya: ወያነ). This word is a particularly important indicator of the armed men’s allegiance.

The scene described at the beginning of this article comes from Video One. “We learned brutality from the Woyane. There isn’t much we can do about it. This is what you become in the end”, asks the man filming the corpses, who, according to Gundarta, speaks Amharic with an Amhara Region accent. A voice in the background recommends dousing the bodies with kerosene to burn them. The speaker regrets that he has none.

In Video Two, a man speaking in Amharic with an Amhara Region accent films three dead bodies by the cliff edge. “As you can see, these are Woyane corpses. We have put them all out here,” he explains. Gunshots ring out in the distance, leading him to turn around and cry “Attaboy! You’re a hero! Such a hero! This is the end for Woyane. We have no mercy left”. Another corpse can be seen on the ground as a group of uniformed men walk away.

Who are the “Woyane”?

This epithet, which roughly translates as “insurgent”, is used derisively for rebels or people believed to be affiliated with the TPLF. However, some Tigrayans use it as a term of pride, referring to the Woyane Rebellion of the 1940s, when their ancestors rose up against the rule of Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie.

“It was a rallying cry for the Tigrayan struggle, which was also along the lines of demanding autonomy or at least against marginalisation against the central state,” explained the International Crisis Group’s Davison.

“It looks very much like they are accusing those people in the video of being members of the TPLF. The fact that these people are suspected of being Woyane is almost seen as justification for the violence being exacted upon them,” Davison added.

Audible Clues

While the five videos do not contain enough information to determine when exactly they were recorded, other clues may offer further avenues of inquiry.

For example, a satellite image taken on 20 January 2021 shows approximately 16 vehicles just 150 metres from the cliff where the executions took place. The image also shows the presence of an artillery battery on the plateau by the trucks:

This satellite image taken on 20 January 2021 shows military vehicles and artillery approximately 150 meters north of the cliff where the massacre took place (Source: Includes material © CNES 2021, Distribution Airbus DS all rights reserved / PLEIADES satellite imagery Acquired through ShadowBreak Intl via BBC Africa)

The Missing Clue

What can we say about the executions at the clifftop that day?

Our geolocation confirms that a massacre took place in Mahbere Dego.

There is some evidence to suggest the allegiance of the soldiers, from an Ethiopian flag on one soldier’s uniform to their use of the Amharic language and the word “Woyane” to describe their victims. These clues point towards the presence of the Ethiopian military or its allies at Mahbere Dego. Beyond these hints, however, the identities of the executioners cannot be conclusively established by open source methods alone at the time of publication.

The final clue may lie in on the ground reporting in Tigray, something which remains particularly dangerous.

Until that changes, open source material continues to be a key resource for documenting the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Tigray, some of which is being provided by perpetrators of the crimes themselves.

“Why don’t you get closer and record?” one armed man exclaims to the camera in Video Four. “How could we not record the way they die?”

Read the full report

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#TigrayGenocide | The Mahbere Dego Clifftop Massacre in Ethiopia | የማኅበረ ደጎ ገደል ጫፍ እልቂት

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 2, 2021

🔥 Who’s Committed This Massacre in Ethiopia?

The BBC has obtained a series of disturbing videos, which later circulated on social media.

They appear to show the massacre of unarmed civilians in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, by people wearing Ethiopian army uniforms.

A BBC Africa Eye team has investigated where this took place and what the shocking videos tell us.

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