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Ethiopian Airlines Employees Are Fleeing The Country by Hiding in The Planes They Work On

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on January 31, 2022

Courtesy: CNN

Yohannes and Gebremeskel knew it would be freezing cold inside the bulk cargo area of the Airbus A350 plane on the long flight from Ethiopia’s capital to Belgium.

But the two ground technicians with Ethiopian Airlines, both of Tigrayan origin, said they felt a threat from the Ethiopian authorities that left them no choice but to stow away among crates of fresh flowers.

Both men said family members had been detained under sweeping emergency laws that have targeted ethnic Tigrayans — and that they feared it was their turn next. The laws were imposed in November as Ethiopian government troops battle forces from the northern Tigray region in a bitter conflict that has now dragged on for 14 months. The government denies the laws targeted any particular group and recently lifted the state of emergency.

A view of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on November 27. Witnesses and Ethiopia's human rights commission accused authorities of arresting people in the capital based on ethnicity, using the wider powers granted by the state of emergency.

A view of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on November 27. Witnesses and Ethiopia’s human rights commission accused authorities of arresting people in the capital based on ethnicity, using the wider powers granted by the state of emergency.

So, in the early hours of December 4, Yohannes and Gebremeskel, both 25, made a spur of the moment decision to climb into the storage section of a converted Ethiopian Airlines cargo plane that was sitting in one of the hangars at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, waiting for the early morning flight to Brussels, Belgium.

As ground technicians with Ethiopia’s flagship commercial airline for the past five years, they had access to the compartment for routine inspection purposes. But if their hiding place was discovered, they would face harsh punishment, they said. CNN has changed both men’s names at their request for security reasons.

For more than three hours before take-off, they hid in the cold among the cabin crew’s luggage, not far away from the plane’s cargo shipment — crates loaded with roses ready to be delivered to Europe. 

“We took the risk. We were — we had no choice, we had no choice, we couldn’t live in Addis Ababa, we were being treated as terrorists,” Yohannes, who has now obtained asylum in Belgium, told CNN in one of several phone conversations.  

Four of his relatives have been killed, his fiancée is in prison in Ethiopia’s Afar region and his sister, about seven months pregnant, was seized from his house along with his furniture, he said. Yohannes believes these killings and detentions were motivated by their Tigrayan ethnicity and actioned under Ethiopia’s new emergency laws. “I don’t know where she [his fiancée] is currently,” he added. CNN has not been able to independently verify the deaths or imprisonment of Yohannes’ relatives.  

“We took the risk. We were — we had no choice, we had no choice, we couldn’t live in Addis Ababa, we were being treated as terrorists.”

Yohannes

A spokeswoman for the office of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed noted in an emailed statement to CNN that the state of emergency was lifted on January 26, 2022.

“You would note that the Council of Ministers have today decided to lift the State of Emergency. Individuals apprehended under the SOE [State of Emergency] have been released in great numbers, over the past weeks by the security sector, following investigations,” spokeswoman Billene Seyoum Woldeyes said.

“The SOE was never enacted to ‘persecute’ any group of people based on their identity,” she said.

The pair are not the only airline employees to attempt a risky escape from their home country in recent weeks. On December 1, shortly before Yohannes and Gebremeskel fled to Belgium, two other Ethiopian Airlines technicians concealed themselves in a passenger aircraft destined for Washington, DC, a spokesperson for the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed to CNN via an emailed statement.

Yohannes and Gebremeskel decided to flee from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport after reports that security was more lax there following the suspension of dozens of Tigrayan guards.

Yohannes and Gebremeskel decided to flee from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport after reports that security was more lax there following the suspension of dozens of Tigrayan guards.

They had concealed themselves in the ceiling space above the seating, according to a source at Ethiopian Airlines with firsthand knowledge of the internal investigation that was launched afterward.

Their journey would last more than 36 hours in total, as the plane flew from Addis Ababa via Lagos, Nigeria, and Dublin, Ireland, before finally landing at Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC.

Upon arrival in the US, the individuals were detained by the US Department of Homeland Security before later being transferred to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

CNN has also spoken to several other Tigrayan employees of Ethiopian Airlines who have fled Ethiopia in recent months through their jobs as flight crew. They told similar stories of widespread detentions of Tigrayans in Ethiopia and of targeted ethnic harassment from within the airline.

Concealed above plane crew’s bunk

CNN has been unable to speak directly to the stowaways who reached Washington, DC, but the source at Ethiopian Airlines said that both men were also of Tigrayan origin.

A CBP spokesperson said in a statement to CNN that after an identification and security examination, officers discovered the two “possessed Ethiopian Airlines employee identification cards, and that they stowed away with the intent of claiming asylum in the United States.”

“The two Ethiopian males are presently housed at a federal detention facility pending a hearing before an immigration judge,” the statement added. “CBP issued a civil penalty to Ethiopian Airlines for the security breach and were briefed on measures the airline is undertaking to enhance the airline’s aircraft security plan.”

CNN has obtained photos of the inside of the Boeing 777 aircraft as it looked during an inspection in the aftermath of the escape. In some pictures, it is possible to see the crew bunk in the center of the plane’s seating area, which the two men reportedly entered before lifting a mattress to reveal a maintenance access panel. 

The images indicate they then cut a larger hole in the panel to enable them to smuggle themselves through the gap into the plane’s ceiling. They hid in this spot, not far above the aircraft’s toilets, for over a day and a half. CNN showed Boeing the photographs and a Boeing representative deferred to Ethiopian Airlines for comment.

The source at the airline told CNN they believed the fact that the stowaways were former maintenance technicians for the airline enabled them to know exactly where to hide inside the plane to go undetected without damaging the structure of the aircraft. 

That they had the necessary tools with them to cut through the panelling might suggest the pair had planned the attempt in advance, the source at the airline added.

In total, 16 Ethiopian Airlines technicians appeared to have escaped via any possible means, either by boarding as cabin crew and walking off or stowing away, he said. CNN has been unable to independently verify this number.

For Yohannes and Gebremeskel, the decision to flee was an impromptu one, they said. They picked the first scheduled flight to a European country that was available and had to leave possessions including their cell phones behind in their lockers. 

For the whole of their seven-hour flight to Brussels, they sat in the cargo area of the Airbus A350 with no food, no water, in the freezing cold, unbeknownst to the other members of the crew on board.  

“I didn’t even have any clothes with me, I was wearing the uniform for maintenance […] I’m still wearing it,” Yohannes said.  

“We don’t have anything to change into here, no underwear, no shoes, even the shoes […] we tried to cover our feet and the legs with what we had, it was night shift, on night shift we have the jacket of Ethiopian Airlines crew,” Gebremeskel, who also obtained asylum in Belgium, told CNN.

It was not how Gebremeskel imagined he would experience his first trip out of Ethiopia. Despite working for five years at Ethiopian Airlines, he had never boarded an international flight. 

Airline employees claim discrimination against Tigrayans

Many people have left Ethiopia by land since the conflict began in November 2020. As of mid-December 2021, more than 50,000 people had fled into neighboring Sudan, according to UN figures. At the peak of the influx, “more than 1,000 people on average were arriving each day, overwhelming the capacity to provide aid,” a UN report said.

A refugee camp in Um Rakuba, Sudan, pictured in August. More than 50,000 Ethiopians have fled to Sudan since the Tigray conflict began in late 2020, according to the UN.

A refugee camp in Um Rakuba, Sudan, pictured in August. More than 50,000 Ethiopians have fled to Sudan since the Tigray conflict began in late 2020, according to the UN.

Meanwhile, attempts to leave Ethiopia by air by legal means have become increasingly difficult for Tigrayans, according to Ethiopian Airlines employees CNN spoke with.

Several attempted to leave by boarding planes from Addis Ababa’s Bole Airport as legitimate passengers but were denied access due to their Tigrayan ethnicity, they claimed. One former employee told CNN there were four checkpoints at the airport where passengers had their passports checked before departure.  

“They check place of birth and name,” they told CNN, recalling three of their own failed attempts to leave. If the person was born in Tigray or had a Tigrayan name they were denied exit from Ethiopia, the former employee said.

As a result, several employees told CNN they escaped by working on board international flights as flight crew and fleeing when the aircraft landed abroad, often when the destination was in Europe or the US.

CNN has obtained IDs that confirm the identities of all four men who stowed away. Flight paths of the two flights — the one to Brussels and the one from Addis to Dulles airport through Dublin — have also been crosschecked on FlightRadar24. 

Ethiopian Airlines has not responded to CNN’s request for comment regarding the stowaways’ journeys or the allegations of discrimination against Tigrayans.

This is not the first time Ethiopian Airlines has made headlines during the conflict in Ethiopia. In October last year CNN revealed that the airline had been ferrying weapons between Ethiopia and Eritrea at the outset of the conflict in November 2020, an act that was condemned by the international community as a potential violation of aviation law.

CNN’s investigation triggered calls by US lawmakers for sanctions and investigations into Ethiopia’s eligibility for a lucrative US trade program. Ethiopia was kicked out of the program over human rights violations at the start of 2022.

The airline has issued multiple denials about transporting weapons. 

‘We were shaking’

After the aircraft carrying Yohannes and Gebremeskel landed in Brussels, the two waited for their chance to reach the terminal building.  

“There were two guys working on the aircraft. One was unloading the cargo shipment and the other was coming with a torch around the plane,” Yohannes said. “So when the first was unloading the flowers we jumped to the ground — me and my friend — we jumped, and we ran to the terminal.”  

Inside, employees gave them water and something to eat, but Yohannes and Gebremeskel were still in shock. “We were afraid they were going to send us back […] The guards, they brought us tea, but we were kneeling down on the ground, we were shaking,” Yohannes added.  

Slowly, they felt a sense of relief, perhaps for the first time since they took off from Addis Ababa.

Their decision to flee had been prompted in part by reports that 38 Tigrayan security guards had been recently suspended at Bole Airport, meaning security was more lax than usual, they said.  

“We were afraid of course … Luckily, we were not found. If we had been found, the punishment would have been harsh.”

Gebremeskel

But NISS, Ethiopia’s national intelligence security service, was still searching every part of the aircraft before departure, Gebremeskel explained, in order to prevent escapes. The Ethiopian Prime Minister’s spokesperson, Billene Seyoum, did not comment on these allegations.

Ethiopian Airlines has not responded to CNN’s request for comment on the security situation at Bole Airport

“We had some tools with us, we were afraid they were going to catch us because they check — the guy from the national intelligence security service checks every flight before departure,” Gebremeskel said.  

“We were afraid of course. We were sitting with some tools with us. Maybe they will come to check that we’re working on it. Luckily, we were not found. If we had been found, the punishment would have been harsh.” 

Yohannes hopes that in Belgium, he will find a country that will “respect my demands, the right to life.”

Pieter-Jan De Block, their lawyer, confirmed in a statement to CNN that both his clients had “obtained international protection in Belgium” and that they’d been released from the center where they were staying. 

For Gebremeskel, the picture is bittersweet. With his family still far away — his parents are in a refugee camp in Sudan — and no money or job in Belgium, life is not easy. Although he has accommodation now, his first two nights after being granted asylum were spent sleeping at a train station.

He told CNN he hoped one day to return to Ethiopia but that until the country is a place where “people aren’t treated differently for their ethnicity,” that hope feels very remote.

Source

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Posted in Curiosity, Ethiopia, News/ዜና, War & Crisis | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

አቶ ተወልደ ገ/ማርያም ከኃላፊነታቸው በፈቃዳቸው ቶሎ ይሰናበቱ

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on October 6, 2021

💭 My Note: Today fascist Abiy Ahmed Ali has named a new defense minister, traitor Tigrayan Abraham Belay. It is “symbolically interesting” to see a Tigrayan appointed as defense minister. I’ve stated in the past there are very cynic and satanic motives behind the appointment of all these Tigrayan technocrats.

Preparing for The #TigrayGenocide evil Abiy Ahmed and his Luciferian overlords brought Tigrayans to occupy key positions nationally and internationally:

👉 His Holiness Abune Mathias, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

👉 Dr. Lia Tadesse Gebremedhin, Minister of Health of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

👉 Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Director-General of the World Health Organization.

👉 Mr Tewolde Gebre Mariam Tesfay, Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines.

and Today:

👉 Dr. Abraham Belay as Defense Minster.

💥 Wow! Let’s connect the dots…this is how monster war criminal Abiy Ahmed Ali and his Luciferian babysitters are literally working hard to destroy Ethiopia, instantly, before our very eyes – with the help of the Amharas — and how they are preparing themselves to blame those Tigrayan appointees for all the evil deeds of the fascist Oromo regime in Addis Ababa.

(CNN) Ethiopia’s government has used the country’s flagship commercial airline to shuttle weapons to and from neighboring Eritrea during the civil war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, a CNN investigation has found.

Cargo documents and manifests seen by CNN, as well as eyewitness accounts and photographic evidence, confirm that arms were transported between Addis Ababa’s international airport and airports in the Eritrean cities of Asmara and Massawa on board multiple Ethiopian Airlines planes in November 2020 during the first few weeks of the Tigray conflict.

It’s the first time this weapons trade between the former foes has been documented during the war. Experts said the flights would constitute a violation of international aviation law, which forbids the smuggling of arms for military use on civil aircraft.

Atrocities committed during the conflict also appear to violate the terms of a trade program that provides lucrative access to the United States market and which Ethiopian Airlines has benefited greatly from.

Ethiopian Airlines is a state-owned economic powerhouse that generates billions of dollars a year carrying passengers to hubs across the African continent and all over the world, and it is also a member of the Star Alliance, a group of some of the world’s top aviation companies.

The airline previously issued two denials about transporting weapons.

Responding to CNN’s latest investigation, Ethiopian Airlines said it “strictly complies with all National, regional and International aviation related regulations” and that “to the best of its knowledge and its records, it has not transported any war armament in any of its routes by any of its Aircraft.”

The governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment.

Military refills

Long-simmering tensions between Ethiopia’s government and the ruling party in the Tigray region exploded on November 4, when Ethiopia accused the Tigray People’s Liberation Front of attacking a federal army base.

Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister, ordered a military offensive to oust the TPLF from power. Government forces and regional militias poured into Tigray, joined on the front lines by troops from Eritrea.

Thousands of people are estimated to have died in the conflict, which by many accounts bears the hallmarks of genocide and ethnic cleansing. While all sides have been accused of committing grave human rights abuses during Tigray’s war, previous CNN investigations established that Eritrean soldiers have been behind some of the worst atrocities, including sexual violence and mass killings. Eritrea has denied wrongdoing by its soldiers and only admitted to having troops in Tigray this spring.

Documents obtained by CNN indicate that flights carrying weapons between Ethiopia and Eritrea began at least as early as a few days after the outset of the Tigray conflict.

On at least six occasions — from November 9 to November 28 — Ethiopian Airlines billed Ethiopia’s ministry of defense tens of thousands of dollars for military items including guns and ammunition to be shipped to Eritrea, records seen by CNN show.

The documents, known as air waybills, detail the contents of each shipment. In one document, the “nature and quantity of goods” is listed as “Military refill” and “Dry food stuff.” Other entries included the description “Consolidated.” The records also had abbreviations and spelling mistakes such as “AM” for ammunition and “RIFFLES” for rifles, according to airline employees. They told CNN the spelling errors were introduced when the contents were manually entered by employees into the cargo database.

Benno Baksteen, chairman of DEGAS, the Dutch Expert Group Aviation Safety, told CNN that these waybills were required for all commercial flights as the crew on board need to know the contents of the cargo to ensure they are transported safely.

On November 9, five days after Abiy ordered a military offensive in Tigray, records show an Ethiopian Airlines flight transported guns and ammunitions from Addis Ababa to Asmara, Eritrea’s capital.

An air waybill and a cargo manifest from that date show that Ethiopian Airlines charged Ethiopia $166,398.32 for about 2,643 pieces of “DFS & RIFFLE WITH AM (sic)” on that flight. DFS is a reference to “dry food stuff,” according to airline sources.

Another air waybill from a few days later, November 13, has the same shipper and consignee. The content of that shipment was “military refill and dry food stuff,” according to the document. The shipments came at a time of increased military activity; security sources in the region told CNN the Eritreans needed re-supply for the fight in Tigray.

As planes went back and forth between the two countries, massacres of Tigrayans in the city of Axum and the village of Dengelat by Eritrean troops took place on November 19 and November 30 respectively.

Cargo documents show that the series of flights between Ethiopia and Eritrea continued until at least November 28, 2020.

Some current and former Ethiopian Airlines employees, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions, said the flights continued past this date but that the majority of arms trips to Eritrea were in November.

Both cargo and passenger planes were used in the operation, though CNN has no evidence that commercial passengers were on any of the flights carrying weapons. Many of these flights do not appear on popular online flight tracking platforms such as Flightradar24. When they do, the destination in Eritrea is often not visible and the flight path vanishes once the plane crosses the border from Ethiopia.

The employees told CNN the staff could manually turn off the ADS-B signal on board to prevent the flights being publicly tracked.

The flights were often assigned the same flight numbers, primarily ET3312, ET3313 and ET3314, with ‘ET’ being the code for Ethiopian Airlines. All the planes mentioned in the cargo files seen by CNN are American-made Boeing aircraft. The airline has been in a long relationship with the US aviation giant.

A Boeing representative declined to comment.

Ethiopian Airlines workers described witnessing other airline employees loading and unloading arms and military vehicles on flights directed to Asmara. A few even claimed they helped load the weapons on the planes themselves. All spoke of being ethnically profiled for being Tigrayan. 

CNN has seen the Ethiopian Airlines’ ID cards of these employees and confirmed their identities.

One former employee told CNN they were instructed at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport to load guns and four military vehicles onto an Ethiopian Airlines cargo plane that was due to fly to Belgium but was sent instead to Eritrea.

“The cars were Toyota pickups which have a stand for snipers,” the employee said. “I got a call from the managing director late at night informing me to handle the cargo. Soldiers came at 5 a.m. to start loading two big trucks loaded with weapons and the pickups.” 

“I had to stop a flight to Brussels, a 777 cargo plane, which was loaded with flowers, then we unloaded half of the perishable goods to make space for the armaments.” 

The former employee warned soldiers that the vehicles were carrying far more gas than was allowed under international air transport rules, but said they were overruled after a direct call from an army commander.

“He [the commander] said we are going to war and we need the fuel to be loaded,” the employee said. “Then I referred the issue to my manager and my manager took responsibility and allowed them to load it.”

The flight, loaded with both weapons and flowers, traveled to Eritrea, then returned to Addis before flying on to Brussels the following day, the employee said. CNN cross-referenced this testimony with Flightradar24 and found the record of an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft returning from the direction of Eritrea and flying to Brussels the next day, but could not independently verify it was the same flight referred to by the employee.

Days later, the employee said they were temporarily suspended from work. They believe they were suspended for being Tigrayan but also for the incident with the soldiers. The employee fled Ethiopia in March.

Ethiopian Airlines told CNN in its statement that no employees had been suspended or terminated due to their ethnic background.

It appears to be not the only long-distance international flight with unplanned stops. A flight from Addis Ababa to Shanghai on November 9, 2020, took a long detour via Eritrea according to the ADS-B signal that tracks the route on Flightradar24.

Several employees at the Addis Ababa airport said they saw multiple weapons flights leave for Eritrea each day at the outset of the conflict. They also spoke about flights carrying weapons from Eritrea back to Ethiopia. It’s unclear why armaments were being transferred back to Ethiopia.

One said they saw tanks and heavy artillery loaded onto planes coming to Addis Ababa, while small arms — mortars, launchers — were dispatched to Asmara. Employees told CNN they believed the smaller weaponry were being sent to Asmara to arm Eritrean troops.

All the employees said they were instructed by the airline to delete photos of the weapons from their phones. Not all of them did.

In June, photos circulated on social media platforms showing crates containing mortars on board an Ethiopian Airlines flight and the same crates being loaded on the plane in Massawa, Eritrea.

The company released a statement strongly denying the allegation that its planes were transporting weapons and claimed the photos were photoshopped. 

However, CNN has corroborated the photos using visual analysis techniques, interviews and documentary evidence, dating them to a 777 Freighter cargo flight that flew from Ethiopia to Eritrea and back between November 8 and 9.

Continue reading…

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Posted in Curiosity, Ethiopia, News/ዜና, War & Crisis | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ethiopia Accused of Using Rape as a Weapon of War in Tigray as New Evidence Emerges of Massacres

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 5, 2021

🔥 #TigrayGenocide / የትግራይ ጀነሳይድ

💭 “Many people believe that it is now genocidal, that what is a political intent to destroy is becoming now an intent to destroy, in whole or part, a people,”

💭“ብዙ ሰዎች አሁን የዘር ማጥፋት ነው ብለው ያምናሉ ፣ ለማጥፋት የታቀደው የፖለቲካ ዓላማ አሁን ሙሉ በሙሉ ወይም በከፊል ህዝብን የማጥፋት ፍላጎት እየሆነ ነው”

👉 አዲስ የጅምላ ጭፍጨፋዎች ማስረጃ ብቅ ብቅ ሲል የኢትዮጵያ መንግስትአስገድዶ መድፈርን እንደ ጦር መሳሪያ ይጠቀማል ተብሎ ተክስሷል

የኢትዮጵያ መንግስት የኤርትራ ወታደሮች በሰሜን ኢትዮጵያ ከሚገኘው የትግራይ ክልል እየወጡ መሆናቸውን ካስታወቀበት አዲስ መረጃ አግኝተናል፡፡ የኤርትራ ወታደሮች የትግራይ ተወላጆችን እና ወንዶችን ሲገድሉ እና አስገድዶ መድፈር የኢትዮጵያ እና የኤርትራ ወታደሮች ለጦር መሳሪያነት መጠቀማቸውን የሚያሳዩ ምስክሮች እየወጡ ነው፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር አብይ አሕመድ በኅዳር ወር የትግራይ ሕዝብ ነፃ አውጪ ግንባርን ያነጣጠረ ወታደራዊ ጥቃት ለመደገፍ ኤርትራና ወደ ትግራይ ክልል አስገባት። በግጭቱ እውነተኛው የሟቾች ቁጥር እስካሁን አልታወቀም ፣ ግን ተመራማሪዎቹ በቅርቡ እንደገለጹት በጦርነቱ በ ፻፶/150 የጅምላ ጭፍጨፋዎች የተገደሉ ወደ ፪ሺ/2,000 የሚጠጉ ሰዎችን በስም ለይተው ለማሳወቅ በቅተዋል፡፡ ስለ አካባቢው መረጃዎችን አቅርባ የተመለሰችው የሲኤንኤን ከፍተኛ ዓለም አቀፍ ዘጋቢ ኒማ ኤል-ባጊር “በሥልጣን ፉክክር” ተብሎ የተጀመረው ወደ ብሔር ማጽዳት መግባቱን ትናገራለች፡፡ “ብዙ ሰዎች አሁን የዘር ማጥፋት ነው ብለው ያምናሉ ፣ ለማጥፋት የታቀደው የፖለቲካ ዓላማ አሁን አንድን ህዝብ በሙሉ ወይም በከፊል የማጥፋት ዓላማ እየሆነ ነው” ብላለች።

We get an update on how the Ethiopian government has announced Eritrean forces are withdrawing from the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia, where harrowing witness accounts have emerged of Eritrean soldiers killing Tigrayan men and boys and rape being used as weapon of war by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers. Eritrea entered the Tigray region to support Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s military offensive in November targeting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. The true death toll from the conflict remains unknown, but researchers recently identified almost 2,000 people killed in 150 massacres by warring factions. CNN senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir, who just returned from reporting on the region, says what started as a “competition for power” has descended into ethnic cleansing. “Many people believe that it is now genocidal, that what is a political intent to destroy is becoming now an intent to destroy, in whole or part, a people,” says.

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Posted in Ethiopia, Infos, Life, Media & Journalism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CNN:’Practically This Has Been a Genocide’ | Rape Used as a Weapon of War in Ethiopia

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on March 20, 2021

Thank you, CNN! We love you, dear Nima Elbagir! You are a real woman, a good-hearted, bright woman – a lot better than the current female president of Ethiopia and her wicked female ministers. They all are in a conspiracy of silence with evil Abiy Ahmed’s riffraff female ministers and president. You, Nima, from now on you are a citizen of the one and only true Ethiopia — which at the moment, and only at the moment, sadly exists only in virtual and celestial hug. But soon!

እናመሰግናለን፡ ሲ.ኤን.ኤን! ውድ ኒማ ኤልባጊር፤ እንወድሻለን! እውነተኛ ሴት ነሽ ፣ ጥሩ ልብ ያለሽ፣ ብሩህ ሴት ነሽ ፥ ከአሁኗ ከንቱ የኢትዮጵያ ሴት ፕሬዚዳንት እና ከትርፍራፊ ሴት ሚኒስትሮች እጅግ በጣም የተሻልሽ ሴት ነሽ፡፡ እነዚህ የአረመኔው የአብይ አህመድ ሴት ሚኒስትሮች እና ፕሬዝዳንቷ ሁሉም የዝምታ ሴራ ላይ ናቸው፡፡ ኒማ ኤልባጊር ከአሁን በኋላ የአንዷ እና ብቸኛዋ የእውነተኛዋ ኢትዮጵያ ዜጋ ነሽ ፥ በአሁኑ ወቅት እና በአሁኑ ጊዜ ፣ ይህች ኢትዮጵያ በምናባዊ እና ሰማያዊ እቅፍ ብቻ የምትኖር እንጂ በሚያሳዝን ሁኔታ እዚህ የለችም። ግን በቅርቡ!

💭 ሲ.ኤን.ኤን. ‘በተግባር ይህ የዘር ማጥፋት ወንጀል ሆኗል’ | አስገድዶ መድፈር በኢትዮጵያ እንደ ጦር መሣሪያነት አገልግሏ

🔥“እሱ ገፋኝና “እናንተ የትግራይ ተወላጆች ታሪክ የላችሁም ፣ ባህል የላችሁም ፣ የምፈልገውን ላደርግባችሁ እችላለሁ፣ ማንም ግድ አይሰጥም!” አለኝ ፡፡”

🔥 ተደፋሪዎቹ ሴቶች ደፋሪዎቻቸው የነገሯቸውን ነገሮች ሲገልጹ፤ “ማንነታቸውን መለወጥ እንዳለባቸው ፥ ወይ አማራ ለማድረግ ወይም ቢያንስ የትግሬ ማንነት ደረጃቸውን እንዲተው… እና እዚያ የመጡትም እነሱን ለማጥራት፣ የደም መስመሩን ለማጥራት እንደሆነ” ይናገራሉ … “። ዶ / ር ቴድሮስ ተፈራ አክለውም፤ “በተግባር ይህ የዘር ማጥፋት ወንጀል ነው!” ብለዋል፡፡

🔥 እንደ ሀኪሞቹ ገለፃ የሚያክሟቸው ሁሉም ሴቶች ማለት ይቻላል በኢትዮጵያና በኤርትራ ወታደሮች የተደፈሩት ሁሉ ተመሳሳይ ታሪኮችን ይተርካሉ።፡ ሴቶቹ እንዳሉት ወታደሮቹ የመበቀል ተልእኮ ላይ እራሳቸውን አውጀዋል እና በክልሉ ውስጥ ከሞላ-ጎደል-የጅምላ ቅጣት ጋር ይንቀሳቀሳሉ።

🔥 “አንዲት ሐኪም እንዳስተናገደቻቸው ያከሟቸው ብዙ ሴቶችም በአካል ተጎድተዋል ፣ አጥንቶቻቸው ተሰባብረዋል፣ የአካል ክፍሎቻቸው ቆሳስለዋል፡፡ ከታካሚዎቹ መካከል ትንሹ ልጃገረድ የ ፰/8 ዓመት ልጅ ስትሆን ትልቋ ደግሞ የ፷/60 ነበሩ።”

🔥 “He pushed me and said, ‘You Tigrayans have no history, you have no culture. I can do what I want to you and no one cares.'”

🔥 “The women that have been raped say that the things that they say to them when they were raping them is that they need to change their identity — to either Amharize them or at least leave their Tigrinya status … and that they’ve come there to cleanse them … to cleanse the blood line,” Dr. Tedros Tefera said.

“Practically this has been a genocide,” he added.

🔥 According to the doctors, almost all the women they treat recount similar stories of being raped by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers. The women said the troops were on a self-proclaimed mission of retribution and were operating with near-total impunity in the region.

🔥 One doctor said many of the women she treated were also physically abused, with broken bones and bruised body parts. She said the youngest girl she treated was 8 years old, while the oldest was 60.

More evidence of sexual violence being used as a deliberate weapon of war is emerging from Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, where an armed conflict has been raging for months.

Women are being gang-raped, drugged and held hostage, according to medical records and testimonies from survivors shared with CNN. In one case a woman’s vagina was stuffed with stones, nails and plastic, according to a video seen by CNN and testimony from one of the doctors who treated her.

CNN has spoken with nine doctors in Ethiopia and one in a Sudanese refugee camp who say they’ve seen an alarming increase in sexual assault and rape cases since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a military operation against leaders in Tigray, sending in national troops and fighters from the country’s Amhara region. Forces from neighboring Eritrea are participating in the military campaign on the side of Ethiopia’s government, as CNN has previously reported.

“He pushed me and said, ‘You Tigrayans have no history, you have no culture. I can do what I want to you and no one cares.'”

According to the doctors, almost all the women they treat recount similar stories of being raped by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers. The women said the troops were on a self-proclaimed mission of retribution and were operating with near-total impunity in the region.

A CNN team in Hamdayet, a sleepy Sudanese town on the Ethiopian border where thousands of refugees from Tigray have gathered in recent months, spoke with several women who described being raped as they fled fighting.

“He pushed me and said, ‘You Tigrayans have no history, you have no culture. I can do what I want to you and no one cares,'” one woman said of her attacker. She told CNN she is now pregnant.

Many say they were raped by Amhara forces who told them they were intent on ethnically cleansing Tigray, a doctor working at the sprawling refugee camp in Hamdayet told CNN.

“The women that have been raped say that the things that they say to them when they were raping them is that they need to change their identity — to either Amharize them or at least leave their Tigrinya status … and that they’ve come there to cleanse them … to cleanse the blood line,” Dr. Tedros Tefera said.

“Practically this has been a genocide,” he added.

The flood of refugees has become a trickle since Ethiopian forces reinforced the border in recent days, worrying refugees who are still hoping to be reunited with family members.

The Ethiopian and Eritrean governments didn’t immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on allegations that their forces are carrying out a coordinated campaign of sexual violence against women in Tigray.

Thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed in the conflict. CNN has previously reported that soldiers from neighboring Eritrea have perpetrated extrajudicial killings, assaults and human rights abuses in the Tigray region. Separate investigations by CNN and Amnesty International in February revealed evidence of massacres carried out by Eritrean forces in Dengelat and Axum. Eritrea’s government has denied involvement in the atrocities.

The new reports of sexual violence come as US President Joe Biden dispatches Senator Chris Coons to meet with Abiy and convey US “concerns about the humanitarian crisis and human rights abuses in the Tigray region.” The State Department has previously called for an independent investigation into atrocities committed during the war.

Ethiopia’s government has severely restricted access to journalists until recently, making it challenging to verify survivors’ accounts. And an intermittent communications blackout during the fighting has effectively blocked the war from the world’s eyes. But in recent weeks, as foreign journalists have been allowed in, horrifying stories of rape and sexual violence are beginning to surface.

On Thursday, CNN affiliate Channel 4 News published a harrowing report into sexual violence against women in Tigray. The report included interviews from a safe house — the only one believed to be operating in Tigray for rape survivors — where around 40 women too traumatized to return to their families are receiving shelter and support.

“… they’ve come there to cleanse them … to cleanse the blood line.”

Dr. Tedros Tefera

One of the survivors told Channel 4 News that she and five other women were gang-raped by 30 Eritrean soldiers who were joking and taking photos throughout the attack. She said she knew they were Eritrean troops because of their dialect and uniforms. She said she was able to return home only to be raped again. When she tried to escape, she recalled being captured, injected with a drug, tied to a rock, stripped, stabbed and raped by soldiers for 10 days.

Outside of the safe house, many more women and young girls are being treated in Ayder Referral Hospital, the main medical facility in the regional capital Mekelle. Most have been referred there by hospitals in rural areas that are not equipped to handle rape cases, Channel 4 News reported.

One doctor at the hospital told CNN that more than 200 women had been admitted for sexual violence in recent months, but many more cases have been reported in rural villages and centers for the internally displaced, with limited to no access to medical care.

The fighting in Tigray, which has included attacks on health care facilities, has severely restricted access to medical treatment, according to a report published Thursday by international medical humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). Of the 106 medical facilities MSF visited in the region, barely one in 10 were still operating, and one in five had been or was occupied by armed soldiers. One facility was being used as an army base, MSF said.

Between a lack of access to medical services and stigma surrounding sexual violence, doctors CNN interviewed said they suspect the true number of rape cases is much higher than official reports.

On February 10, the state-appointed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) admitted that the war and associated dismantling of the regional administration in Tigray had “led to a rise in gender-based violence in the region.”

A month later, on March 4, the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, demanded an “objective, independent assessment” of the situation on the ground in Tigray.

According to the UN statement, more than 136 cases of rape were reported in eastern region hospitals in Mekelle, Ayder, Adigrat and Wukro between December and January.

One coordinator at a gender-based violence crisis center in Tigray told CNN they used to hear of cases every few days or once a week. Since the conflict broke out, up to 22 women and girls seek treatment for rape every day, she said.

Demand for emergency contraception and testing for sexually transmitted infections have also surged in recent months. Many of the women who have been raped have contracted sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, doctors told CNN.

One doctor said many of the women she treated were also physically abused, with broken bones and bruised body parts. She said the youngest girl she treated was 8 years old, while the oldest was 60.

The doctor said that many women who come forward share stories of others who haven’t — mothers, sisters, friends and other acquaintances.

A spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office told CNN that they would carry out a joint investigation with EHRC into allegations of serious human rights violations in Tigray.

Source

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Posted in Ethiopia, Infos, Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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