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Posts Tagged ‘Peace Treaty’

CNN on HUMERA MASSACRE | Men Are Marched Out of Prison Camps. Then Corpses Float Down The River

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on September 5, 2021

The ghostly outlines of limbs emerge through the mist along the Setit River in eastern Sudan. As the river’s path narrows, the drifting bodies become wedged on the silty clay bank and their forms appear more clearly; men, women, teenagers and even children. 

The marks of torture are easily visible on some, their arms held tightly behind their backs.

On a trip to Wad El Hilou, a Sudanese town near the border with Ethiopia, a CNN team counted three bodies in one day. Witnesses and local authorities in Sudan confirmed that in the days after the team’s departure, 11 more bodies arrived downstream.

Evidence indicates the dead are Tigrayans. Witnesses on the ground say the bodies tell a dark story of mass detentions and mass executions across the border in Humera, a town in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.

CNN has spoken with dozens of witnesses collecting the bodies in Sudan, as well as international and local forensic experts and people trapped and hiding in Humera, to reveal what appears to be a new phase of ethnic cleansing in Ethiopia’s war.

Humera is one of many towns involved in the conflict that has ravaged the 112 million-strong east African country since the Ethiopian government launched an offensive in the country’s northern Tigray region in November 2020. Despite Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s initial declaration of victory in late November, the region is still wracked by fighting and CNN has previously reported on the many atrocities including torture, extrajudicial killings, and the use of rape as a weapon of war.

At the end of June this year, the balance of power shifted suddenly as Tigrayan forces recaptured the regional capital, Mekelle, and the Ethiopian government began withdrawing troops from the region. The fighting continued, however. In mid-July, Tigrayan forces announced a new offensive to recapture areas taken by the Ethiopian government.

This new offensive, witnesses told CNN, was what prompted the government forces and militia groups holding the northern town of Humera, close to the border with Eritrea and Sudan, to launch a new phase of mass incarcerations of resident Tigrayans.

CNN’s investigations indicate that the ethnic profiling, detention and killing of Tigrayans bears the hallmarks of genocide as defined by international law.

‘We’re told to look out for the bodies’

In recent weeks, a community of Tigrayans living in the Sudanese town of Wad El Hilou, 65 kilometers (40 miles) downstream from Humera, has assumed the role of excavators and grave diggers for the bodies drifting down the river known in Sudan as the Setit and in Ethiopia as the Tekeze. 

It is arduous and distressing work. The stench from the bodies fills the air as they first extract each corpse from the riverbed and then dig new graves for them, before performing the burial rites.

Tigrayan community leader Gebretensae Gebrekristos, also known as Gerri, helps coordinate and document the recovery of the bodies in Sudan.

Tigrayan community leader Gebretensae Gebrekristos, also known as Gerri, helps coordinate and document the recovery of the bodies in Sudan.

Gebretensae Gebrekristos, known as “Gerri,” is one of the community’s leaders; he helps coordinate the grim task with a solemn determination. In total the community estimates at least 60 bodies have been found so far. He explained how the group is certain the bodies are Tigrayans from Humera. 

“We get calls from people in Humera that witnesses — often escaped detainees — saw people marched down to the river in one of the facilities and heard gunshots, or that a number of people were taken by soldiers from the detention facilities and never returned.  We’re told to look out for their bodies coming down the river.”

The bodies first appeared in Sudan in July when the river was at its highest volume due to the rainy season. Sudanese water engineers told CNN the speed of its flow then would enable the bodies to drift from Humera to Wad El Hilou in approximately two to three hours. Wad El Hilou is a natural pinch-point in the river’s path — and so, when the bodies arrived, they floated towards the banks.

According to Gerri, his community usually finds the exact number of bodies it has been told to expect.

Sixteen-year-old Natay and 17-year-old Gebrey, whose names have been changed for their safety, are among the Tigrayans who said they fled prison camps in Humera. Now in Wad El Hilou, they confirmed to CNN that they heard reports of men, with their hands tied, being marched in single file towards the Humera riverfront, to the area between St. Mary’s and St. Michael’s Church. The boys both say they heard shots ring out and the men did not return.

Natay said he remembered feeling paralyzed: “I was so fearful, thinking that they would kill me and throw me [in] too.”

Sudanese authorities in Wad El Hilou have filed police and coroner reports for each body found in their territory, documenting evidence of the extensive torture and “execution-style” bullet entry wounds found on many of the bodies, the authorities told CNN. Both local Sudanese authorities and forensic experts say all the bodies retrieved so far were likely dead before they hit the water.

In a statement issued via US public relations firm Mercury, the Ethiopian government said it was investigating the allegations. “In light of several inconsistencies in the allegations, we are working with the relevant authorities to gather evidence and will prosecute any individuals found to have committed crimes to the fullest extent of the law,” a spokesperson said.

“The government is keen to reiterate our desire to ensure a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Tigray and is actively working to secure a ceasefire.”

‘Everyone was sick’

For so many of the Tigrayans in Sudan, these bodies could have been people they knew. Many have fled from Humera and still have families there.

Temesgen, 24, and Yonas, 25, say they escaped together from a warehouse in Humera, called Enda Yitbarek, which they describe as being used as a makeshift mass detention camp for thousands of Tigrayans. CNN has changed their names for their safety. They were both imprisoned for just over two weeks.

“I was playing around my house, then they collected me and took me because I am Tigrayan,” Temesgen recalled. “We didn’t do anything, they just collected me and detained me.”

Ethiopia is at war with itself. Here’s what you need to know about the conflict

Inside the warehouse, people were crammed together on the floor without rooms or partitions to create privacy, he said.

“They weren’t providing us food and we didn’t even have access to the toilet,” Yonas said. “Some people were toileting inside the warehouse.”

For Temesgen the real horror was the lack of medical assistance. “Everyone was sick with flu and not getting medical help. They weren’t sending us to hospital,” he said.

Former detainees described to CNN prisoners of all ages squeezed tightly together — from mothers with young children to teenagers to men in their 70s.

Temesgen and Yonas say they escaped while on a rare toilet break permitted by the guards, and made the journey to Sudan. They both talked of multiple prison camps dotted around the city of Humera.

CNN spoke to dozens of other escapees from these camps and, based on their accounts, estimates there are up to nine locations where it is thought thousands of Tigrayans are being detained.

Ethnic profiling

Tigrayans still inside Humera told CNN that they live in constant fear of being detained or killed. They spoke of brazen ethnic profiling whereby residents of Tigrayan ethnicity are targeted and those of other ethnicities are safe, particularly those of the Amhara ethnicity;  militia from Amhara have fought alongside Ethiopian government forces in Tigray.

People of mixed ethnicity face an uncertain fate; residents told CNN that an Amhara ID card can suffice but to be seen socializing with Tigrayans will put someone at risk nonetheless. 

Alem, whose name has also been changed for security reasons, is half-Tigrayan but has a non-Tigrayan ID card and has been helping Tigrayans hide in his home in Humera while the arrests continue. Relatives abroad have urged him to flee, but he insists it’s his duty to stay and help those who are targeted.

Rahel, not her real name, is also Tigrayan but has a non-Tigrayan ID card and says she has been visiting friends and relatives in the prison camps despite the questions posed by guards. She is horrified by the conditions for those detained.

“They can’t move, they are not getting enough sanitation, no food, no water and no medicine. If they feel sick and die, no one cares. They are hungry and thirsty. How could they feel good thinking it’s their turn the next day, knowing their friends were killed yesterday? The guards don’t care about life,” she said.

People in Humera who spoke to CNN repeatedly mentioned the disappearances of members of the Tigrayan community. Those still free assumed they were detained in the camps, but those who escaped from the prisons told CNN that people were frequently summoned by guards and would never return. Others spoke of rare sightings of bodies being dumped into the river.

Across the water in Sudan, Yonas recalled the disappearances from the Enda Yitbarek warehouse.

“They weren’t torturing us but they were taking prisoners often at night and they never came back,” Yonas said. “We don’t know whether they killed them or not, but after they took them they never came back, and their families reported their disappearances.”

Residents of Humera with whom CNN spoke firmly believe the bodies arriving in Wad El Hilou are from their town. Several are in regular touch with those who escaped across the border to Sudan and when the bodies began arriving, news spread fast.

One man has been identified locally as Misganawu, a well-known barber in Humera. ”He had two nicknames, Totit and Gundi,” Alem recalled. “I knew Totit very well when he was working in Humera in that hairdressing shop. He was born and raised in Humera.”

Signs of torture

 Ongoing independent investigations by international and local forensic experts found no evidence that the victims had drowned. The experts, who asked not to be identified due to security concerns, told CNN that the bodies had all been exposed to some form of chemical agent after death, leading to a process which had effectively preserved them before entering the water.

The fact all the bodies were in a similar state indicated they had been stored in a similar environment, possibly a storage facility or a mass grave, before being dumped into the river, the experts said.

This state of preservation makes it easier to identify the marks on the bodies and what could have caused them, the experts said.

Some of those found had their arms bound tightly behind their backs, in keeping with a torture technique called “tabay.”  Several had their hands tied with small gauge yellow electrical wire and bone breakages and dislocations further indicate additional pressure was placed on their bodies before death. 

The experts say they are in a race against time to preserve evidence, in case it is needed for potential war crimes prosecutions in the future. They also confirmed the signs of torture apparent to the group in Sudan who’ve been collecting the corpses.

While investigators in Sudan continue to examine the bodies, Tigrayans and those helping them in Humera face a daily struggle to remain free from arrest and abuse.

And Tigrayans like Gerri, on the other side of the border, mourn and dig shallow graves for the bodies that drift downstream.

Speaking by the first riverside grave he dug, marked with a makeshift wooden cross, Gerri said it pained him to be unable to give them a proper burial.

Source

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Ethiopia’s Tigrayans Rounded Up, Mutilated & Dismembered In Civil War Ethnic Purge

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on September 5, 2021

Sources said that after a series of victories by Tigrayan Defence Forces, the occupying forces in Humera started to purge ethnic Tigrayans.

Courtesy: The Tlegraph

By Lucy Kassa

Forces occupying a major city in Ethiopia are throwing thousands of men, women and children into makeshift “concentration camps”, cutting off limbs and dumping mutilated bodies into mass graves as part of an orchestrated ethnic purge, a dozen separate witnesses told The Telegraph.

Ethnic Amhara forces have been going “door-to-door” to round up anyone who is ethnic Tigrayan in the latest harrowing evidence of population cleansing in Ethiopia’s blood-drenched civil war.

“Feven Berhe was an innocent resident who owned a small shop. They took her to Tekeze river and shot her,” said one resident, who knew the 40-year-old victim well.

“Before they killed her, they removed her eyes and cut off her legs. They did not let anyone pick her body up and bury her.”

Humera is a city of about 50,000 near Ethiopia’s border with Eritrea and Sudan. Because of its strategic location, it was one of the first places to be attacked when Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea’s dictator launched a devastating pincer attack to crush Tigray’s regional government in November.

For the last year, ethnic Amhara forces, who hail from a neighbouring region and are allied to the Nobel laureate, have controlled the city, along with swathes of western Tigray.

Sources said that after a stunning series of victories by the Tigrayan Defence Forces in late June, the occupying forces in Humera started to purge ethnic Tigrayans in the city.

The Telegraph understands that on 15 July, Amhara forces held a public meeting in the main municipality hall in Humera to decide the fate of Tigrayans in the areas they controlled.

“They said this; ‘We should exterminate all Tigrayan residents in the city. We must cleanse them all,” said one man who claims he attended the public meeting.

Multiple residents said that a massive campaign of arrests started soon after the meeting.

“They have been going from house to house arresting everyone. No Tigrayan is left except those who fled to Sudan or found a hiding place in the city. They have a list of Tigrayan residents from the administrative offices,” said another man.

“If it is written in your identity card that you are Tigrayan, there is no mercy,” said another.

Children displaced by fighting in northern Ethiopia play among sacks of clothes at the Addis Fana School where they are temporarily sheltered,

At the beginning of August, 43 bloated and bloodied bodies were found floating down the Tekeze River, which separates the region from Sudan.

The Telegraph understands that these were some of the original victims of the purge. Residents say that when the floating bodies attracted huge international attention, Amhara forces started dumping bodies elsewhere.

Elderly people, children and pregnant women have all been taken to several detention centres and three different warehouses across the city, which have been turned into makeshift “concentration camps”, survivors said.

The Telegraph could not confirm these accounts because of major reporting restrictions in Tigray.

However, imagery analysis by Vigil Monitor (previously DX Open Network), an atrocity early warning and detection research organisation based in the UK, shows that ethnic Amhara forces and allied Ethiopian troops have been stationed at ‘numerous’ centres for the past few months.

One man the Telegraph spoke to called Gizau claimed that he had escaped one of the centres by convincing militiamen he was not fully ethnic Tigrayan.

“We were 250 detainees. The Amhara forces take detainees every night and bring new ones. The ones they take never come back,” he said.

Gizau and ten other witnesses said that people were being killed and dumped in pits around the three warehouses and in craters outside the city.

Satellite imagery partially corroborates the sources. It shows a pit roughly the size of a swimming pool outside one of the warehouses, which has been gradually filled up since mid-July.

There is a similar pattern of suspicious pits being filled up slowly over the same time period at the other locations.

“There are very suspicious holes in the ground next to the camps, in an area where no other hole gets filled with earth,” say analysts at Vigil Monitor.

The state president for Ethiopia’s Amhara region Agegnuh Teshager and the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s Office were both approached for comment on The Telegraph’s findings bit neither responded.

*Names have been changed in this article to protect identities.

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

ፋሺስት ፋኖ ፉን ፉን እያለ ከአላማጣ ወጣ | አይ አማራ ለብስኩት ብለህ እንዲህ የኦሮሞ መጫወቻ አሻንጉሊት ትሆን?

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on July 12, 2021

😠😠😠 😢😢😢

አቅምን አውቆ መኖር ጥሩ ነው ታላቅ ችሎታ ነው!

አሁንም ወልቃይትን እና ሑመራን ባፋጣኝ ለቅቃችሁ ብትወጡ ይሻላችኋል። በአኖሌ የደምቢዶሎ ዩኒቨርሲቲ ሴት ተማሪ እኅቶቻችንን ጡት ቆርጠው የጨረሷቸው የግራኝ ኦሮሞዎች እንጂ የጽዮን ልጆች አይደሉም፤ አያደርጉትምም! ስለዚህ አሁን ወደ አዲስ አበባ አምርታችሁ አፈ ሙዙን ወደ አራት ኪሎ ቤተ ፒኮክ ብታዞሩት በይበልጥ ትጠቀማላችሁ፤ የብዙ ወገኖቻችን ሕይወት ታድናላችሁ! ግራኝ ገና ያኔ እነ ጄነራል አሳምነውንና እነ ኢንጂነር ስመኘውን እንደገደላቸው ከትግራይ ወንድሞቻችሁ ጋር ለመተባበር እጃችሁን ብትዘረጉ ኖሮ የስንት ወገኖች ሕይወት ባዳናችሁ፣ ላለፉት ስምንት ወራት ከአህዛብ ጠላት ጋር አብራችሁ በጽዮን ልጆች ላይ በፈጸማችሁት ወደር የለሽ ግፍ ለብዙ ትውልድ ከሚቆይ ዕዳና ለሺህ ዓመታት ከማይወርድ ከባድ ሸክም እራሳችሁን እና ኦሮሞዎችን ነፃ ባወጣችሁ! አሁን የፍርድ ቀን ተቃርቧልና ጉዳዩ በእናነተ እና በእግዚአብሔር መካከል ብቻ ነው!

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

How Local Guerrilla Fighters Routed Ethiopia’s Powerful Army

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on July 11, 2021

By The New York Times

A scrappy force of local Tigrayan recruits scored a cascade of battlefield victories against the Ethiopian military, one of Africa’s strongest. Times journalists witnessed the decisive week in an eight-month civil war.

SAMRE, Ethiopia — The Tigrayan fighters whooped, whistled and pointed excitedly to a puff of smoke in the sky, where an Ethiopian military cargo plane trundling over the village minutes earlier had been struck by a missile.

Smoke turned to flames as the stricken aircraft broke in two and hurtled toward the ground. Later, in a stony field strewn with smoking wreckage, villagers picked through twisted metal and body parts. For the Tigrayan fighters, it was a sign.

“Soon we’re going to win,” said Azeb Desalgne, a 20-year-old with an AK-47 over her shoulder.

The downing of the plane on June 22 offered bracing evidence that the conflict in the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia was about to take a seismic turn. A Tigrayan guerrilla army had been fighting to drive out the Ethiopian military for eight months in a civil war marked by atrocities and starvation. Now the fight seemed to be turning in their favor.

The war erupted in November, when a simmering feud between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Tigrayan leaders, members of a small ethnic minority who had dominated Ethiopia for much of the three previous decades, exploded into violence.

Since then, the fighting has been largely hidden from view, obscured by communications blackouts and overshadowed by international outrage over an escalating humanitarian crisis. But during a pivotal week, I went behind the front lines with a photographer, Finbarr O’Reilly, and witnessed a cascade of Tigrayan victories that culminated in their retaking the region’s capital, and altered the course of the war.

We saw how a scrappy Tigrayan force overcame one of the largest armies in Africa through force of arms, but also by exploiting a wave of popular rage. Going into the war, Tigrayans were themselves divided, with many distrustful of a governing Tigrayan party seen as tired, authoritarian and corrupt.

But the catalog of horrors that has defined the war — massacres, ethnic cleansing and extensive sexual violence — united Tigrayans against Mr. Abiy’s government, drawing highly motivated young recruits to a cause that now enjoys widespread support.

“It’s like a flood,” said Hailemariam Berhane, a commander, as several thousand young men and women, many in jeans and sneakers, marched past en route to a camp for new recruits. “Everyone’s coming here.”

A column of thousands of Tigrayans who joined the rebels. Many said they were motivated by atrocities perpetrated against civilians by the Ethiopian military and its allies.

Mr. Abiy, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 and has staked his prestige on the Tigray campaign, has downplayed his losses. In a self-assured address to Parliament on Tuesday, of a kind that once dazzled admiring Westerners, Mr. Abiy insisted that his military’s retreat from Tigray was planned — the latest phase of a fight the government was on course to win.

Seen from the ground, though, Tigray has been slipping through his fingers.

In the past three weeks, Tigrayan fighters have captured a wide swath of territory; retaken the regional capital, Mekelle; imprisoned at least 6,600 Ethiopian soldiers — and claimed to have killed about three times as many.

In recent days, Tigrayan leaders have expanded the offensive to new parts of the region, vowing to stop only when all outside forces have been expelled from their land: Ethiopians, allied troops from the neighboring country of Eritrea and ethnic militias from the next-door Amhara region of Ethiopia.

“If we have to go to hell and back, we’ll do it,” said Getachew Reda, a senior Tigrayan leader.

Press officers for Mr. Abiy and the Ethiopian military did not respond to questions for this article.

We flew into Mekelle on June 22, a day after national elections in Ethiopia which had been heralded as major step toward the country’s transition to democracy.

In Tigray, though, there was no voting and the Ethiopian military had just launched a sweeping offensive intended to crush for good the Tigrayan resistance, now known as the Tigray Defense Forces, commanders on both sides said.

An Ethiopian airstrike had struck a crowded village market that day, killing dozens. We watched as the first casualties arrived at Mekelle’s largest hospital.

Days later, three aid workers from Doctors Without Borders were brutally murdered by unknown assailants.

In the countryside, the war was moving at a furious pace. Ethiopian military positions fell like dominoes. Hours after the Tigrayans shot down the military cargo plane, we reached a camp holding several thousand newly captured Ethiopian soldiers, about 30 miles south of Mekelle.

Clustered behind a barbed wire fence, the prisoners erupted into applause when we stepped from our vehicle — hoping, they later explained, that we were Red Cross workers.

Some were wounded, others barefoot — Tigrayans confiscated their boots as well as their guns, they said — and many pleaded for help. “We have badly wounded soldiers here,” said Meseret Asratu, 29, a platoon commander.

An estimated 3,000 Ethiopian soldiers captured by the Tigrayans were being held at a makeshift prison camp about 30 miles south of Mekelle on June 29. Many were wounded, others barefoot.

Further along the road was the battlefield where others had died. The bodies of Ethiopian soldiers were scattered across a rocky field, untouched since a fight four days earlier, now swelling in the afternoon sun.

Personal items cast aside nearby, amid empty ammunition boxes and abandoned uniforms, hinted at young lives interrupted: dog-eared photos of loved ones, but also university certificates, chemistry textbooks and sanitary pads — a reminder that women fight on both sides of the conflict.

Stragglers were still being rounded up. The next day, Tigrayan fighters marched five just-captured prisoners up a hill, where they slumped to the ground, exhausted.

Dawit Toba, a glum 20-year-old from the Oromia region of Ethiopia, said he had surrendered without firing a shot. War in Tigray was not like he had imagined it. “We were told there would be fighting,” he said. “But when we got here it was looting, robbery, attacks on women.”

“This war was not necessary,” he added. “Mistakes have been made.”

Driving off, we came across a figure sprawled on the roadside — an Ethiopian, stripped of his uniform, with several bullet wounds to his leg. He groaned softly.

The wounded soldier appeared to have been dumped there, although it wasn’t clear by whom. We drove him back to the prisoner camp, where Ethiopian medics did some basic treatment on the ground outside a school. Nobody was sure if he would survive.

Artillery boomed in the distance. The Tigrayan offensive was continuing to the north, using captured heavy guns against the Ethiopian troops who had brought them in. A platoon of fighters walked through, bearing a wounded man on a stretcher. Teklay Tsegay, 20, watched them pass.

Before the war, Mr. Teklay was a mechanic in Adigrat, 70 miles north. Then, last February, Eritrean soldiers fired into his aunt’s house, killing her 5-year-old daughter, he said. The following day, Mr. Teklay slipped out of Adigrat to join the resistance.

“I never thought I would be a soldier,” he said. “But here I am.”

As Tigrayans quietly mustered a guerrilla army this year, they drew on their experience of fighting a brutal Marxist dictatorship in Ethiopia in the 1970s and 1980s, under the flag of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

Then, Tigrayan intellectuals used Marxist ideology to bind peasant fighters to their cause, much like the Viet Cong or rebels in Angola and Mozambique.

But this time, the Tigrayan fighters are largely educated and hail from the towns and cities. And it is anger at atrocities, not Marxism, that drew them to the cause.

The wave of recruits has included doctors, university professors, white-collar professionals and diaspora Tigrayans from the United States and Europe, colleagues and friends said. Even in government-held Mekelle, recruitment grew increasingly brazen.

Two weeks ago, a T.D.F. poster appeared on a wall beside St. Gabriel’s, the city’s largest church. “Those who fail to join are as good as the walking dead,” it read. Hours later, Ethiopian soldiers arrived and tore it down.

Mulugeta Gebrehiwot Berhe, 61, a senior fellow at the World Peace Foundation at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, in Massachusetts, was visiting Mekelle when war erupted in November. I found him near the town of Samre, a leather-holstered pistol on his hip.

“I joined the resistance,” said the academic, who once helped broker a peace deal for the United Nations in Darfur. “I felt I had no other option.”

Even some Ethiopian commanders felt alienated by Mr. Abiy’s approach to the conflict.

Until late June, Col. Hussein Mohamed, a tall man with a gold-tooth smile, commanded the 11th Infantry Division in Tigray. Now he was a prisoner, held with other Ethiopian officers in a closely guarded farmhouse.

Of the 3,700 troops under his command, at least half were probably dead, said Colonel Hussein, confirming that he was speaking voluntarily. “The course of this war is political madness, to my mind,” he said.

He always had serious reservations about Mr. Abiy’s military alliance with Eritrea, Ethiopia’s old foe, he said: “They ransack properties, they rape women, they commit atrocities. The whole army is unhappy about this marriage.”

Still, Ethiopian soldiers have been accused of much the same crimes. I met Colonel Hussein in a stone-walled room, with a tin roof, as rain splattered outside. When the room’s owner, Tsehaye Berhe, arrived with a tray of coffee cups, her face clouded over.

“Take it!” she snapped at the Ethiopian officer. “I’m not serving you.”

Moments later Ms. Tsehaye returned to apologize. “I’m sorry for being emotional,” she said. “But your soldiers burned my house and stole my crops.”

Colonel Hussein nodded quietly. Col. Hussein Mohamed, who commanded an Ethiopian army division, was captured with his troops and held in a closely guarded farmhouse. He called the war “political madness.”

Even before Ethiopian forces abandoned Mekelle on June 28, there were hints that something was afoot. The internet went down, and at the regional headquarters where Mr. Abiy had installed an interim government, I found deserted corridors and locked offices. Outside, federal police officers were slinging backpacks into a bus.

Smoke rose from the Ethiopian National Defense Forces’ headquarters in Mekelle — a pyre of burning documents, it turned out, piled high by detainees accused of supporting the T.D.F.

Weeks earlier, Ethiopian intelligence officers had tortured one of them, Yohannes Haftom, with a cattle prod. “We will burn you,” Mr. Yohannes recalled them saying. “We will bury you alive.”

But after he followed their orders to cart their confidential documents to the burn pit on June 28, the Ethiopians set Mr. Yohannes free. Hours later, the first T.D.F. fighters entered Mekelle, setting off days of raucous celebration.

Residents filled streets where young fighters paraded on vehicles like beauty queens, or leaned from speeding tuktuks spraying gunfire into the air. Nightclubs and cafes filled up, and an older woman prostrated herself at the feet of a just-arrived fighter, shouting thanks to God.

A woman in Mekelle fell to the ground and shouted thanks to God on June 29, as it became clear that Tigrayan forces had taken control of Mekelle.

On the fourth day, fighters paraded thousands of Ethiopian prisoners through the city center, in a show of triumphalism that was a pointed rebuke to the leader of Ethiopia. “Abiy is a thief!” people chanted as dejected soldiers marched past.

The celebrations eventually reached the house where Mr. Getachew, the Tigrayan leader and T.D.F. spokesman, now descended from his mountain base, was staying.

As the whiskey flowed, Mr. Getachew juggled calls on his satellite phone while a generator rattled in the background. Mr. Abiy had once been his political ally, even his friend, he said. Now the Ethiopian leader had cut the power and phone lines to Mekelle and issued a warrant for his arrest.

Buoyed by victory, the guests excitedly discussed the next phase of their war in Tigray. One produced a cake with the Tigrayan flag that Mr. Getachew, sharing a knife with a senior commander, cut to loud cheers.

For much of his career, he had been a staunch defender of the Ethiopian state. But the war made that position untenable, he said. Now he was planning a referendum on Tigrayan independence.

“Nothing can save the Ethiopian state as we know it, except a miracle,” he said. “And I don’t usually believe in them.”

Source

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TDF Attack on a Retreating Ethiopian Army Convoy from Tigray (possibly June 28, 2021)

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on July 10, 2021

የትግራይ ሠራዊት ከትግራይ ወደ ኋላ በማፈግፈግ በሚገኘው የኢትዮጵያ ጦር ሰራዊት ላይ ጥቃት ሲፈጸም (ምናልባት ሰኔ 28 ቀን 2021)

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

Amhara Troops Attacking Tigray Civilians in Humera & Alematta | አይ ኦሮማራ!

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on July 10, 2021

😠😠😠 😢😢😢

Tigrayans in Humera and Alematta plead for help to escape ethnic violence

Tigrayan residents of the towns of Humera and Alematta say they are being singled out, attacked and driven from their homes by Amhara Special Forces.

The city of Humera, close to the tri-point of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan, has been at the forefront of the Tigray war since it began in November last year.

Attacks from Ethiopian troops and Amhara special forces from the South and by the Eritrean army from the North drove the Tigrayan forces from the city. But many Tigrayans remained. Now, as the Tigray Defence Forces are reportedly advancing from their strongholds in central Tigray westwards and southwards, the Tigrayans living in Humera are again under severe threat.

Tigrayans in Alematta say they are also being attacked.

This information has come from several sources.

Many Tigrayans in Humera and surrounding area say they are trapped and threatened.

Amhara Special Forces have been going door to door, warning Tigrayans to get out of what they call “their land”. Tigrayans say they have been given just 24 hours to leave their homes. Some people have been beaten and the community is traumatised.

“We told the Amhara that we don’t have a safe route to leave: the border with Sudan is closed and we are prevented from moving to Amhara or Tigray. They replied by telling us to go to Eritrea, but we said we can’t and won’t go to Eritrea.”

An appeal for help

The community says the situation is really urgent. They say they are being starved, abused, traumatized and have no hope.

Residents of Humera are appealing for the Red Cross, and other International Humanitarian Organisations, to come to their aid. They fear that unless a route out of the town is found along which Tigrayans can escape from Humera they will be abused or killed by the Amhara.

Alematta

Similar reports are coming from the town of Alematta and surrounding areas.

Many Tigrayans are taken from their home by Amahra force at gunpoint, without warning. There is a report that 9 young Tigrayan men were killed in public on Friday – accused of being supporters of the Tigrayan “junta”.

Tigrayans in the town are terrified, with many taken to prisons where they are being held. Older people and children have been taken to Mokeoni and left there – told they can walk into territory held by the Tigray Defence Forces, some 25 kilometres away.

These displaced people are being forced to leave their homes without money, clothes, or documents.

The UN Ocha recently reported that: “The road from Mekelle to Alematta, in Southern Zone, was also cleared but access beyond it has been denied by Amhara Security Forces (ASF), who are still in control of areas south of Korem toward Alematta and beyond.”

The Tigrayans of Humera and Alematta are appealing to the International Committee of the Red Cross to arrange safe routes along which these threatened people can escape to safety.

Source

የግራኝ ኦሮሞዎች ከእስማኤላውያኑ እና ኤዶማውያኑ ጋር አብረው አማራውን ጨፈጨፉት፥ አማራው አቅም አንሶት እራሱን ስይመክት ቀርቶ ከግራኝ ኦሮሞዎች ፣ እስማኤላውያኑ እና ኤዶማውያኑ ጋር ለማበር ወስኖ ተዋሕዶ ትግራዋይን ያሳድዳል፣ ይደፍራል፣ ያፈናቅላል፣ ይጨፈጭፋል።

አይ አማራ! ወደ ኦሮሚያ እና ቤኒሻንጉል ሲዖል ገብተህ “የኔ ናቸው” የምትላቸውን አማራዎች ነፃ እንዳታወጣ በኦሮሞው ቁራ ግራኝ አብዮት አህመድ ስትከለከል ጸጥ ለጥ ብለህ እንዳልነበር፡ ታዲያ ዛሬ ሆን ብሎ ከውንድምህ ጋር ሊያጣላህ “ወደ ትግራይ ግባና እርስትህን አስመልስ እኔ ድጋፍ እሰጥሃለሁ” ብሎ ካታለለህ በኋላ አሁን “በሬ ሆይ! ሳሩን አየህና ገደሉን ሳታይ” ብሎ ተርተብህ። ታዲያ በምዕራብ ትግራይ ባለፉት ስምንት ወራት በፈጸምከው ግፍ ተጸጽህተህና ንሰሐ ገብተህ፣ በሠራኸው ወደር የሌለው ወንጀል ሳቢያ ምንም ዓይነት የግዛት ጥያቄ በትግራይ ወንድሞችህ ላይ ሳታነሳ (ይህ ሲያንስህ ነው፣ ግዴታህም ነው!) በመጠናከር ላይ ካለውና ሊረዳህ ከሚችል ብቸኛው የትግራይ ተዋሕዶ ሕዝብ ጎን ቆመህ የዋቄዮ-አላህ ወራሪዎችን መዋጋት ሲገባህ ለዓመታት ካለሟቸው ከተማዎች እናቶችንና ሕፃናትን ታፈናቅላቸዋለህ፣ የኦሮሞውቹ እና የመሀመዳውያኑ ወኪል፣ ደጀንና ደጋፊ ሆነህ ምንም ያላደረግኽን የትግራይ ክርስቲያን ሕዝብን በመርዳት ፈንታ አስርቦ ለመጨረስ ወደ ትግራይ የምግብ እርዳታ እንዳያልፍ ትከለክላለህ! ዋይ! ዋይ! ዋይ! ታዲያ አማራ ዛሬ በዳይም ተበዳይም የመሆን መብት አለውን?! ይህ መርገም አይደለምን?! እንግዲህ ይህን ያህል የትንቢት መፈጸሚያ የሆነከው የትውልድ እርግማን ደርሶብህ ሳይሆን አይቀርምና መጥፊያህን ዛሬውኑ አመቻች።

እንደው፤ አንድ ክርስቲያን ነኝ፣ ተዋሕዶ ነኝ” የሚል ሕዝብ ተዋሕዶ ክርስቲያን የሆነውን ሕዝብ አስርቦ ለመፍጀት መንገድ ሲዘጋ የቤተ ክርስቲያን “አባቶች” ፣ መምህራን፣ ዲያቆናትና አገልጋዮች ለምንድን ነው ወጥተው የማይናገሩት፣ የተቃውሞ ሰልፍስ የማያደርጉት? ከዚህ የበለጠ አስከፊ ነገር ምን ሊኖር ይችላል? እንዴት ነው ኦሮዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ክርስትና ከኢትዮጵያ ምድር እንድትጠፋ እና ክርስቲያኖች እንዳይኖሩ ይፈልጋሉን? በተለይ በአዲስ አበባ እና በአማራ ክልል ያሉ የቤተክህነት አገልጋዮች እግዚአብሔርን በጣም የሚያስቆጣ ሁኔታ ላይ ነው ያሉት። በየትም ዓለም ታይቶ ተሰምቶ የማይታወቅ ዝምታ ነው እያሳዩ ያሉት። በእኔ በኩል፤ ይህን ያህል ምንም ሰብብ ወይም ምክኒያት ሊኖር ስለማይችል ከላይ እስከ ታች ሁሉንም የክርስቶስ ተቃዋሚዎች፣ የተዋሕዶ ክርስትና እና የኢትዮጵያ ጠላቶች እንደሆኑ አድርጌ ነው የማያቸው።

👉 “አታላዩና አምታቹ ቁራ ነፃነትና ሕይወት አፍቃሪዎቹን ድመቶች እርስበርስ ሲያባላቸው”

👉 “አማራና ትግሬ ተባበሩ፤ የተነሳባችሁን ጠላት ቄሮ ቁራ በአንድነት አባርሩ”

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Ethiopia Tigray Conflict | Famine & Abiy Ahmed’s War Crimes Explained

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on July 9, 2021

How do you go from winning a Nobel Peace Prize to being accused of horrific war crimes in just two years? That’s the situation facing Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed. For months, Ethiopia has been in the middle of a violent civil war with the Tigrayan people; an ethnic group that lives in the country’s north. As many as 50,000 people are said to have died, which, if true, is more than any conflict anywhere in the world in 2021.

Abby’s government is being accused of committing war crimes and putting millions of its own citizens at risk of dying from starvation and the United Nations has just announced that more than 400,000 Ethiopians are currently experiencing famine,

So, how did it go from a Nobel Peace Prize to this? To answer that question, we need to take a closer look at the rise of Abiy, as well as the four stages of Ethiopia’s recent leadership. Ethiopia is a diverse country with distinct regions and lots of different ethnic groups, like the Tigrayans. That’s because for centuries, right up until the 1970s, Ethiopia was actually an empire ruled by an emperor. After the fall of the empire and years of civil war and Communist dictatorship under Mengistu, Eritrea declared independence and the TPLF went on to rule Ethiopia with the EPRDF for almost 30 years .

The man the government chose to eventually replace the outgoing Prime Minister was Abiy Ahmed. Abiy was seen as a young and dynamic politician and often spoke of peace, reconciliation and unity.

Abiy’s most well-known act, however, was reaching out to Eritrea and ending the war that had been going on for decades. This is how he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Things seemed like that were going well for Ethiopia and that they were finally moving away from years and years of authoritarian rule. But inside the country, conflicts between ethnic groups were flaring up. Abiy responded to all of this by going back to some of the methods used by those before him.

Then came COVID.

Like many other nations, Ethiopia decided to postpone its elections. Opponents accused Abiy of using the pandemic as an excuse and said that he didn’t want to face an election. The Tigrayans went one step further and defied the government by holding their own elections the following month. What followed were reports of the Ethiopian government mobilising its military and in the early hours of November 4th, while the rest of the world was watching the US election, Abiy issued a statement that the Tigrayans had attacked a military base and that they’d be forced to respond with military action.

The two sides were now at war. Although Abiy and his government refused to refer to the situation as a war. In the early stages, it was referred to as a ‘law and order operation’ against politicians who had to defied the government and needed to be brought to justice. Abby also said it would be over in weeks and would be entirely bloodless. After a while it became clear that both of those statements weren’t true.

Details started to trickle out eventually, with more than 60,000 Tigrayans fleeing across the border into Sudan.

They came with stories of not just fighting between the military and militias, but of massacres of civilians and widespread sexual violence.

There have also been signs of widespread hunger across Tigray, a place that’s already vulnerable to food shortages.

The United Nations says that all sides of the conflict have been carrying out atrocities, but that the vast majority have been perpetrated by the Ethiopian military and its allies. That brings us to a key point. The Ethiopian military hasn’t been acting alone. Abiy allied with the Eritrean military to attack his own people, something that government denied at first. Eritrea is led by President Isaias Afwerki.

Internationally, there has been a huge amount of pressure on Abiy to stop the fighting and to send the Eritreans home. Now, it seems as if the Eritrean military are finally starting to pull out and the Ethiopian government did recently announce a ceasefire. However, it was rejected by the TPLF, who said that they won’t stop fighting until all enemy troops have left the region. Experts fear the fighting will continue to spread and millions more are at risk of dying from starvation if regions in Tigray continue to be cut off from food aid and essential services. The Ethiopian government continues to deny that this is happening even though there have been reports of trucks with aid being held up and bridges into towns being destroyed.

According to experts, the only way to get through this without further violence is getting all of the ethnic group leaders and political party leaders together to negotiate a path to pace and a new direction for Ethiopia.

For now, many Ethiopians of all ethnic groups and people right around the world are just hoping to see an end to the ongoing violence and for the enormous number of Ethiopians that are currently starving to be given the help that they desperately need.

👉 Courtesy: ABC (Australia)

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AXUM PEACE ACCORD: A Reality Fantasy

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on July 9, 2021

This article is part of the blog series,”Rethinking Peace in Ethiopia” reflections on aspects of peace in Ethiopia.

Introductory note

The present ‘reality fantasy’ (Stephen Tyler) is based on the knowledge that a paragon – an excellent example – is well suited to serve as a model for action. In this light, a paragon for peace making in the Horn of Africa may well be a peace ceremony held 1993 at Arbore, southern Ethiopia.

Blunting spears

At the event seven different ethnic groups met to make peace in southern Ethiopia.

Breaking spears

Initiator of this peace ceremony was one of the political leaders of the Arbore, Grazmach Surra Gino. He called on all warring groups to attend, enlisted the help of local administrations and NGOs for hosting the participants, and also invited scholars from the South Omo Research Center to witness and report about the event. This is what he said to me:

German son, people are all the same,
only the colour is different.
The foreigner is white, people like I are black.
Being human, how can they spill each other’s blood?
This disturbs me.
Therefore I now want to reach the whole world.
Yes, the whole world.
Today you must help me reach all people on Earth.
When they have taken it from you,
this will be my day.”

Grazmach Surra Gino

Taking these words as encouragement and a mandate, I now proceed to outline – as briefly as possible – how a symbolic form of peace making may help consign the war in Tigray to the past, and open the way to a peaceful future.

Genius loci’ or ‘spirit of the place’

The peace ceremony at Arbore has shown that the ‘spirit’, the historical, ecological, and transcendental qualities of the place of peace making are highly significant. For Tigray it is the ‘genius loci’ of Aksum, the capital of the ancient Aksumite Empire, which seems to be particularly well suited to serve as a place for peace making.

Participants at the Aksum Peace Accord

1) Tigray Delegation

2) Ethiopian Federal Republic Delegation

3) Eritrea Delegation

4) Amhara Delegation

5) Sudan Delegation

6) Religious Delegations

7) Independent observers

Issues of conflict

As the Arbore case shows, not all disputes need to be settled in detail before symbolic peace making can take place. However, an effective ceasefire must be in place, and all parties should share a conviction that the most menacing issues have been resolved.

Topics of the peace accord

(1) Expression of grudges: The actual peace ceremony at Arbore was preceded by a meeting where representatives of the different warring group recalled the suffering they had endured at the hands of others, and insisted that their grudges should not be forgotten. The Aksum Peace Accord would include such a – cathartic – expression of previous grudges in analogous fashion.

(2) Destruction of tools of war: Although the different groups in southern Ethiopia had fought each other with modern rifles they destroyed and buried traditional weapons as a more powerful symbol of disarmament. The same would apply to the Aksum Peace Accord.

(3) Revaluation of honour and shame: During some of the speeches held at Arbore it was mentioned that in the future the traditional praise and glorification of killers should be abandoned. A similar condemnation of killing would be proclaimed at the Aksum Peace Accord.

(4) Cursing and blessing: At the climax of peace making in Arbore, representatives of each group cursed and blessed in their own language and with their own style, generating a heightened feeling and conviction of peace and well-being.

(5) Tools for economic and social reconstruction: Towards the end of the Arbore peace ceremony, the hosts handed out tools of production (digging sticks and herding whips), and of social control and general welfare (ritual staffs) to representatives of each of the attending groups. As host of the Aksum Peace Accord, the Tigray delegation would similarly present gifts to the formerly warring parties. Rather than whipping wands, digging sticks and ritual staffs, they would offer substantial grants for social and economic reconstruction. These grants would come from the international community, i.e. from nations with particularly friendly relations with Tigray and all its neighbours.

(6) Joint feasting: The peace ceremony at Arbore ended with a celebratory meat feast at which all the previously warring groups took part. The symbolism of sharing food is so universally known that it need not be further explicated.

International prestige

The 2020 -2021 war has negatively affected the image of each warring party. The Aksum Peace Accord will serve to regain international prestige.

Timeline

We also learn from the Arbore peace making that the time between the announcement and the actual performance of a peace ceremony can be very fertile. It helps the conflicting parties to focus on the promises of peace rather than war. Therefore, the sooner the plan and support for an Aksum Peace Accord are made and announced, the faster the process of reconciliation will begin, and peace will return.

Postscript

Below follow the final blessings – in seven different languages – pronounced at the peace making in Arbore. They have been recorded in the film “Bury the Spear. Cursing War and Blessing Peace at Arbore, southern Ethiopia.” Their expressive power may well be able to inspire the Aksum Peace Accord once eventually it becomes a reality:

Grazmach Surra Gino (Arbore)
May God sweep war out of our country.
May God make people live in harmony with each another.
May God make their stomachs one.
May God keep quarrelling away.
May He pull away the harness of rain for us!

Huna Arshal (Arbore)
Let god send rain good for cattle.
Let god send fatty rain that makes happy.
We have discarded evil,
let God discard it for us!

Iyaberet (Dassanetch)
Let my father’s village eat well and play.
Country – peace! Country – peace!
Let bad things not be.
Yes, let bad war disappear.
Yes, my father’s country is sleeping peacefully.

Naqua Deldo (Bashada)
Let us only talk truth!
Then let our mouths become one,
let the land we cleaned be peaceful,
let what we said be repeated).
Let the children play together.
Let the cattle come home in peace and be milked.
Let people meet one another.
Let people open roads to one another.
Let their mouths be one.
Let bad things go away!

Kaile Akkol (Nyangatom)
Let this land be peaceful.
Let there not be bad things,
let only good things come.
Let there be peace.
Let this rebirth be good!
Let livestock and crops all be well!

Walelo Duba (Konso)
May Ethiopia be peaceful together!!!
The wrong we mistakenly did yesterday,
let it disappear from us today.
From today on let it go away.
From now on let evil disappear from us.
Let our enemies who played against us disappear.
Let Ethiopia move together !!!!

Yembo Dele (Tsamai)
We who are sitting, let God hear all what we say.
Let God make our mouths one, let everything be one.
Let war go away!
Let God hear our words and make our tongues one.
Let God hear and destroy war.
I am a Tsamai – a farmer – let me smell farming.
God gave us sticks to herd cattle and goats,
so let God give us livestock.
Let Tsamai be peaceful.
Before, the Borana, Wata and we drank from one gourd,
let us return to one drinking gourd.

Gelgelo Tore (Wata)
May our family be peaceful!
Day and the night be peaceful.
May the people of Borena have peace.
May the whole of Ethiopia be at peace !!!
We have peace!
May the times be peaceful, in night and day.
We have passed bad times,
now we have given each other peace.
Let the sleeping place at the cattle camps be peaceful.
The people of Borena are all in peace.
We have refused war, we have sent it away.

Galafo Lale (Karo)
Won’t evil go away? – Let it go!
Won’t go away with the setting sun?
Won’t evil go away?
Won’t good come?
Let us love one another.
Peace!
Let war go away
from Bume, Kara, Geleb, Konso, Boran
and all these lands in this EPRDF time!
Let war disappear,
let the land be healthy.
Let us talk together, play together, laugh together!

Balambaras Aike Berinas (Hamar)
God who created us let him hear our words!
Let him bring us rain,
let him keep illness away from us.
Let the cattle graze in peace.
Let the goats herd in peace.
Let the children sit under shade in peace.
Let the children play there.
Let the mother go to fetch water,
let her come back in peace,
Let her collect wood in peace.
Let the goat go in peace,
let her return grazing on the leaves of bushes
Let the cow graze and come back,
let what she eats be like sheep’ fat for her.
Let the sleeping hides be peaceful:
Let the sleeping hides of Borana be peaceful.
Let the sleeping hides of Konso be peaceful.
Let the sleeping hides of Tsemai be peaceful.
Let the sleeping hides of Karo be peaceful.
Let the sleeping hides of Hamar be peaceful.
Let the sleeping hides of Borana be peaceful.
Let the sleeping hides of Mursi be peaceful.
Let people all be of one family.
Let the sky hear, and after hearing,
let it make our speech appealing.
Let us multiply!

Source

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