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❖❖❖ በአክሱም ላይ ጥቃት፤ ኅዳር ፲፥ ፲፩ /፳፻፲፫ ዓ.ም ኖቬምበር 19-20 /2020❖❖❖

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on November 21, 2021

እልቂቱ የከተማዋን ነዋሪዎች ቀሰቀሳቸው። አንድ ሰው ከቤት ወደ ቤት በተረገው ግድያ ልጆቹን ያጣውን ዘመዱን ጎብኝቶት ነበር። – “ልጆቿን ገድለው ከወጡ በኋላ መጀመሪያ ላይ ማንም ሰው እንዳይገባ የግቢውን በር ቀርቅረው ዘጉት። ከሁለት የሞቱት ልጆቿ አካላት ጋር ለአንድ ቀን ተኩል ያህል ለብቻዋ ቀርታ ነበር። እሷን ባየናት ጊዜ ምላሽ የማትሰጥና የደነዘዘች ነበረች።”

ለአንድ ሳምንት ያህል ወታደራዊ ኃይሎቹ ይዘርፉና ይገድሉ ነበር። ለሰብአዊ መብት ተሟጋቹ ሂዩማን ራይትስ ዎችተናግረው የነበሩት ሌሎች ነዋሪዎች የኢትዮጵያዊ ሰራዊት ተካፋይ ነበር፤ አብዛኞቹ እንደገለጹት የኢትዮጵያ ወታደሮች እንዲሁ ቆመው ዝርፊያውን እና ግድያውን ይመለከቱ ነበር። አንድ ሰው ይህ ለእኛ ህመም ነበርብሏል። የኢትዮጵያ ሰራዊት ለኢትዮጵያ እና ለሕዝቧ የቆመ ይመስለን ነበር ነገር ግን የኤርትራዊ ሰራዊት ሲዘርፍና ሲገድል ምንም አላሳሰባቸውም። ዝም አሉ።

❖❖❖Attack on Axum, November 19-20/ 2020❖❖❖

The massacre left the town’s inhabitants reeling. One man visited a relative who lost her children in the house-to-house killings: “They killed her children and locked the compound door behind them, so no one could get in at first. She was left alone with the bodies of her two dead children for a day and a half. She was numb, unresponsive by the time we saw her.”

For about a week, the military forces pillaged. While several residents who spoke to Human Rights Watch saw Ethiopian forces participate, most said the soldiers just stood by and watched. “It was painful,” said one man. “I thought the Ethiopian military stood for Ethiopia and its people… but they did nothing as Eritrean forces looted and killed. They just kept silent.”

Human Rights Watch was unable to determine the number of civilian deaths resulting from the joint Ethiopian-Eritrean offensive on Axum and the ensuing massacre. However, based on interviews with elders, community members collecting identification cards of those killed, and those assisting the retrieval of the dead, Human Rights Watch estimates that over 200 civilians were most likely killed on November 28-29 alone. Human Rights Watch also received a list of 166 names of victims allegedly killed in Axum in November, 21 of which correspond to the names of those killed on November 28 and 29 given by witnesses interviewed.

International humanitarian law, or the laws of war, applicable to the armed conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigrayregion, prohibits deliberate attacks on civilians and attacks that are indiscriminate or cause disproportionate civilian harm. Indiscriminate attacks strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction, including those not directed at a specific military target. The laws of war also prohibit all violence against captured combatants and civilians, including murder and torture. Pillage and looting are also prohibited. Individuals who commit serious laws-of-war violations with criminal intent, including as a matter of command responsibility, are liable for war crimes.

Crimes against humanity include murder and other unlawful acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack on a civilian population.

The late November attacks were documented by media organizations, as well as by Amnesty International. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has also begun investigations. Human Rights Watch provided its findings to Ethiopian and Eritrean government officials on February 18 but received no response. On February 26, the Ethiopian government announced it would thoroughly investigate events in Axum and expressed “readiness to collaborate with international human rights experts.”

While the lack of access to conflict areas has hindered reporting on the conflict, Human Rights Watch and others have reported on other massacres, the indiscriminate shelling of towns, widespread pillaging, including destruction of crops, and the apparent extrajudicial executions by Ethiopian and Eritrean forces, as well as forces from the neighboring Amhara region.

Given the presence of multiple armed forces and groups and the poor track record of the warring parties in investigating grave abuses, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) should conduct an urgent, independent inquiry focused on establishing the facts, collecting forensic and other criminal evidence, and investigating war crimes and possible crimes against humanity in Axum and elsewhere is crucial, Human Rights Watch said.

“Condemnations are not enough to bring justice to the victims of grave abuses committed by both Ethiopian and Eritrean forces in Tigray,” Bader said. “Attention and action by UN member states is needed now to ensure those responsible for these grave abuses are held accountable. So far, reports of these chilling abuses have been met by shameful silence.”

💭 Attack on Axum, November 19-20 / 2020

Axum is in northern Tigray, home to an ancient civilization, and declared a World Heritage Site in 1980 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Following the outbreak of armed conflict in Tigray in early November, many residents fled the fighting in western Tigrayby crossing into Sudan or by going east, including to Axum, where they hoped to find a safe haven given the town’s historical and religious significance.

Axum residents were already feeling shortages because of the conflict. Ethiopia’s federal government cut off access to Tigrayat the war’s start and food was in short supply. “Electricity was shut,” one resident said. “We couldn’t grind the grains. People subsisted on crackers. After a week, there was nothing. This affected everyone.”

In mid-November, airstrikes hit an area near Axum’s airport.

On November 19, residents heard the distant sounds of artillery getting closer from the direction of Sheree, a town 40 kilometers west that Ethiopian federal forces had captured two days before. Several residents then saw Tigray special forces and militia withdraw from the town. “People were scared because of the terror in Sheree,” said a man who fled to Axum. “No one opened their shops or the market.”

At about 4 p.m., Ethiopian and Eritrean forces fired artillery into Axum that struck buildings, hit the town’s cobblestoned streets, and killed and injured civilians. Panicked residents sought cover from the shelling, some hiding in their homes, others fleeing to rural areas, following a pattern of attacks already documented by Human Rights Watch during the conflict.

Artillery hit the wall of a house in Kebele 02, killing four civilians inside. One young man said: “We were scared, this was our first experience with war. We didn’t know what they were targeting. A heavy weapon hit a home. The blast scattered the bodies of Kassa Enquay, Almaz Zeraya, Ammanuel Berhe, and a young woman who worked as a housekeeper.”

The shelling continued until evening. Residents then heard gunfire.



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