Breaking: Eritrean troops massacred 100 civilians in Ethiopia’s Tigray: Report
Eritrean troops have reportedly killed over 100 civilians in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray in what may amount to crimes against humanity.
The massacre was carried out in November 2020, when Ethiopia descended into a regional conflict with forces loyal to the leadership of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed acknowledged on Tuesday that troops from Eritrea had been in Tigray.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said in a report on Wednesday that the troops committed “grave violations of human rights” in the region.
It said only in the historic town of Axum, “Over one hundred residents… were killed by Eritrean soldiers.”
The commission called for “a comprehensive investigation into (the) overall human rights situation in Tigray region” as these atrocities “may amount to crimes against humanity or war crimes.”
The conflict in Tigray erupted in early November, after Abiy sent troops into the region as part of a retaliatory response to alleged attacks on the military. The dissident ruling party of the TPLF was overthrown.
For months, both Ethiopia and Eritrea flatly denied involvement of Eritrean forces in the Tigray conflict.
Abiy Ahmed eventually told parliament that Eritrean forces came fearing they would be attacked by Tigray’s regional fighters.
Abiy, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, however, did not admit Eritrean soldiers had been deployed in Ethiopian towns. But he suggested they may have been involved in abuse against civilians.
“After the Eritrean army crossed the border and was operating in Ethiopia, any damage it did to our people was unacceptable,” AFP quoted Abiy as saying.
The atrocities committed by Eritrean troops include killing unarmed civilians, raping women and the widespread looting of public and private property, according to the commission.
The EHRC conducted a fact-finding mission in Axum in late February and early March. It said earlier attempts to reach the town had been “impeded by the security situation.”
“Eritrean soldiers went door to door asking women ‘where their husbands or children were’ telling them ‘to bring their sons out if they have any,’” the report said.
Citing witnesses, the report said bodies of victims were left in the streets for days, some being dismembered by animals.
Eritrea dismisses accusations of abuse as “preposterous” and “fabricated.”
The United Nations said last week that it would work with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission to investigate reports of indiscriminate killing of civilians and widespread sexual abuse.