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Archive for April 8th, 2021

US Expresses ‘Grave Concern’ over Harrowing Reports of Atrocities in Ethiopia

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 8, 2021

Allegations of ethnic cleansing that began last fall amid a military crackdown in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region now threaten to engulf the surrounding areas and permanently tarnish the reputation of the country’s nobel prize-winning prime minister. Thousands are dead, tens of thousands have been displaced, and the Ethiopian government is on the defensive. Coletta Wanjohi reports.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with Ethiopia’s deputy prime minister on Thursday and expressed “grave concern” over the growing humanitarian and human rights crisis in the country.

The call came after a disturbing report by The Associated Press and warnings by the United Nations that a campaign of rape and murder is being carried out against the Tigrayan people by military forces from the Amhara state of Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea.

Sullivan spoke with Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen and discussed “critical steps to address the crisis, including expanded humanitarian access, cessation of hostilities, departure of foreign troops, and independent investigations into atrocities and human rights violations,” National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said in a statement.

Mr. Sullivan stressed that the United States is ready to help Ethiopia address the crisis, building on our longstanding bilateral partnership and friendship.”

The Associated Press on Wednesday published a report detailing dozens of accounts by Tigrayan refugees who described rapes, beatings, gunshot wounds and seeing dozens of corpses suggesting a massacre.

Last month, the deputy U.N. aid coordinator in Ethiopia, Wafaa Said, said five medical facilities in the region had reported at least 516 rape cases, a number she said likely underrepresented the overall number because of the stigma associated with rape and a destruction of health facilities, Reuters reported.

The AP’s report on Wednesday also said Tigrayan refugees have had their ethnic identities erased from newly issued identity cards, in what the news agency said was evidence of a concerted effort by the Ethiopian government to erase their ethnic identity.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has used the term “ethnic cleansing” to describe what is happening in Tigray, a serious charge that describes the forced expulsion of a population through violence, killings and rapes. He has also called for the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from the country.

The administration previously dispatched Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to Ethiopia to carry a personal message from President Biden to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Nobel Peace Prize winner, to address the reports of atrocities.

The U.S. has had diplomatic relations with Ethiopia for more than a century. It is the second most populous country in Africa and receives one of the “largest and most complex assistance programs,” according to the State Department.

Administration officials have focused on the humanitarian crisis and allegations of human rights atrocities in the country since Biden took office.

The conflict occurring in the north of Ethiopia began in November, with government forces instituting a brutal crackdown in the Tigray region after Tigrayan officials sought to hold their own elections after national polls were delayed.

The Ethiopian government has admitted to Eritrean forces being present in the north and has committed to investigating allegations of atrocities but has criticized such reporting as “slanted” that “portray the federal government as the instigator of all crimes.”

In a lengthy statement from the Ethiopian foreign ministry responding to Wednesday’s report by the AP, the government called the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, a political opposition party, a “criminal enterprise” that is “armed to its teeth.”

The violence occurring in the region is further being exacerbated by a critical lack of essential services. The U.S. announced last month it was committing an additional $52 million to aid the humanitarian crisis, providing “lifesaving protection, shelter, essential health care, emergency food aid, water, sanitation, and hygiene services.” That is on top of approximately $100 million provided at the outset of the conflict.



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Massacre in Tigray Fuels Genocide Fears Almost 200 Civilians Killed by Ethiopia & Eritrean Military Forces in Latest Human Rights Abuse in Region

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 8, 2021

‘Their Bodies Were Torn into Pieces’: Ethiopian & Eritrean Troops Accused of Massacre in Abi Addi, Tigray

አካሎቻቸው ተቆራርጠዋልየኢትዮ ጵያ እና የኤርትራ ወታደሮች በትግራይ ዓብይ ዓዲ በተፈፀመ ጭፍጨፋ ተከሰሱ። ፻፹፪/182 ንጹሐን በአብይ አህመድ የጋላ እና በኢሳያስ አፈቆርኪ የቤን አሚር አህዛብ ሰአራዊቶች በጅምላ ተጨፍጨፈዋል።

Most corps were already eaten by wild animals. Others were half-eaten by dogs. Their bodies were torn into pieces

አብዛኛው አስከሬን ቀድሞውኑ በዱር እንስሳት ተበልቷል። ሌሎች ደግሞ በከፊል በውሾች ተበሉ፡፡ አካላቸው ተቆራርጧል

እህ ህ ህ! አይ ጋላ! አይ አማራ! አይ ኢሳያስ ቤን አሚር! እግዚኦ! እግዚኦ! እግዚኦ!

የአክሱም ጽዮን ልጆች የትግራይ ወገኖቼ ቅዱስ የሆነውን ቍጣ ተቆጡ! በጣም ተቆጡ! ግን በእነዚህ ምስጋና-ቢስ አረመኔ ወገኖች አትበሳጩ፣ አትዘኑ፤ እነርሱ ወደ ጥልቁ የሚገቡ ናቸውና እንዲያውም ለእነርሱ እዘኑላቸው! አዎ! ምንም ወለም ዘለም እያሉ እራስን ማታለል የለም፤ እግዚአብሔር ሁሉንም አይቶታል፤ በወገኖቻችን ላይ ግፍ እየሰሩ ያሉት ኦሮሞዎችና  አማራዎች ናቸው። እየሠሩት ባሉት ወንጀል ትንሽም እንኳን ቢሆን ተጸጽተው ንስሐ ለመግባት ወደ ቤተ ክርስትያን በመሄድና ተድብቀውም በማልቀስ ፈንታ የትግራይን እናቶች እንባና ጩኸት በድፍረትና በፈሮዖናዊ ዕብሪት ለመንጠቅ ሲሉ ሰሞኑን ሰልፍ ወጥተው በመጮኽ ላይ ናቸው፤ በጣም ነው የሚያሳዝነው፤ ግን ምን ይደረግ የአቤል ደም ጩኸት እያቅበዘበዛቸው እኮ ነው! ገና ምኑን አይተው!

In an exclusive investigation, witnesses tell of 182 civilians killed in cold blood as reports of human rights abuses in the region escalate

In early February, the crash of shells and bullets in the remote Jawmaro mountains in northern Ethiopia seemed to have stopped.

Civilians in Abi Addi, a town in the Temben region of Central Tigray, were relieved. At last, a small measure of peace.

But on February 10, all the terrors of Ethiopia’s civil war descended on the town and at least a dozen surrounding villages.

In exclusive testimony shared with the Telegraph, 18 witnesses told how Ethiopian federal soldiers and Eritrean troops surrounded the area and went from house to house killing a total of 182 people.

“I saw dead bodies scattered, bodies half-eaten by dogs. The soldiers did not allow anyone to get close to the corpses,” said 26-year-old Tesfay Gebremedhin from the village of Semret, who fled into the mountains along with many other terrified young men.

“But later, they started to feel disturbed by the terrible smell of the dead bodies. So they covered the bodies with dust.”

One of those who survived the massacre in Wetelako village was five-year-old Merhawit Weldegebreal. She was shot in her leg. Her uncle, Abrha Zenebe, died trying to shield her from the bullets.

“The soldiers came and shouted at my uncle. They also shouted at my father. But dad ran away. The soldiers hit my uncle in his leg with their guns. And then they shot him in his belly. They also shot me in my knee,” the little girl told the Telegraph on the phone from her hospital bed in the Ayder hospital in the regional capital Mekele.

Since the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent the most powerful military in Africa into the country’s northern Tigray region to oust its ruling party in November, all hell has been unleashed on the ethnic Tigrayan people.

Mr Abiy sided with forces from Eritrea and ethnic militias from Tigray’s neighbouring Amhara region to crush forces loyal to the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in a three-pronged attack.

Now a deluge of credible reports pointing towards a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing, rape and man-made starvation are emerging.

This is one of the largest massacres to have been reported so far. In February, AP and Amnesty published accounts of several hundred people being killed by Eritrean soldiers in Tigray’s holy city of Axum.

In response to the violence, the European Union has suspended some €88m of development aid to Ethiopia and imposed sanctions on Eritrea.

But attempts to rally broader condemnation at the UN have failed due to objections from China as well as India and Russia.

Survivors told the Telegraph that civilians, mainly farmers, had been massacred in Abi Addi and the villages of Adi Asmiean, Bega Sheka, Adichilo, Amberswa, Wetlaqo, Semret, Guya, Zelakme, Arena, Mitsawerki, Yeqyer and Shilum Emni – villages about 60 miles from Tigray’s capital.

Four brothers in their 20s were among those killed at Adi Asmiean. Gaebraemaedhin, Kibrom, Gueshaya and Taesfamariyam Araaya were at the family farm, harvesting their sorghum crop when Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers arrived.

Witnesses told the Telegraph they were shot and their bodies were dumped in a nearby crater. It took five days for their father, Arraya Gaebraetaeklae, and his eldest son, Maebrahten Arraya, to find the bodies of their loved ones.

“When they took my sons, I was in town with Mebrahten purchasing some goods. Returning home, I heard neighbours saying the Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers took many young men from the village. That was when I also learned my sons were among those taken,” says Mr Araya.

Mr Araya was only able to identify his sons by their clothing. “They asked me if I was sure the bodies belonged to my sons. I told them I was sure. How can I not know my sons?” he says.

In the village of Adi Asmiean near Abi Addi, parents and elders say that they begged Ethiopian soldiers to allow burials to take place.

Solomon Gebremaryam, a 32 year old civil servant and survivor of the massacre

“On February 15, the Ethiopian soldiers showed us the whereabouts of the dead bodies they threw into the crater. We went there with some parents of the dead. When we arrived, all villagers could not move an inch towards the bodies because of the terrible smell,” says Hadush Meruts, a local priest.

Mr Meruts and three other priests managed to retrieve just seven corpses.

“It was difficult to pull them out. Most were already eaten by wild animals. Others were half-eaten by dogs. Their bodies were torn into pieces; their faces were filled with insects. We splashed fuel on the bodies to cleanse the insects,” he says.

When asked for comment about the massacre, Eritrea’s information minister, Yeamanae Gaebraemaeskael, could not address the events of Abi Addi specifically.

“The government of Eritrea has zero tolerance for and never targets civilians in war. But in the past four months, we have seen a barrage of fabricated accusations mainly from TPLF remnants,” he said.

The Telegraph asked the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s office to comment but had received none at the time of going to press.


👉 From The Week

Massacre in Tigray Fuels Genocide Fears | 200 Civilians Killed by Ethiopia & Eritrean Militaries

A deadly attack on Tigrayan people in northern Ethiopia has triggered warnings that violence against the ethnic group threatens to escalate into genocide.

Witnesses in Abi Addi, in the Temben region of Central Tigray, told The Telegraph that Ethiopian federal soldiers and Eritrean troops killed a total of 182 local people in a house-to-house massacre in the town and surrounding villages.

The paper reports that most of the victims were said to be farmers, whose bodies were then “dumped in a nearby crater” until their families and village elders “begged Ethiopian soldiers to allow burials to take place”.

One survivor who escaped into nearby mountains described seeing “dead bodies scattered, bodies half-eaten by dogs”, after returning to his village.

“The soldiers did not allow anyone to get close to the corpses,” 26-year-old Tesfay Gebremedhin continued. “But later, they started to feel disturbed by the terrible smell of the dead bodies. So they covered the bodies with dust.”

Ethnic Cleansing’

The claims about indiscriminate violence against Tigrayans in Abi Addi are the latest in “a deluge of credible reports pointing towards a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing, rape and man-made starvation”


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