Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accused forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front of committing a massacre against civilians in the northern region, which has been witnessing conflict since last week.
Abiy Ahmed said that Ethiopian federal forces had “liberated” the southern part of Tigray province in “a victory for innocent civilians who were subjected to a brutal massacre in Mai-Kadra district.”
Fighting broke out between government forces and the TPLF last week.
In a separate statement, the prime minister said that “the bodies of members of the army were found who were shot while their hands and feet were tied.”
Officials in Tigray deny the accusations against them in this regard.
Eyewitnesses blamed forces loyal to the TPLF for the killings.
What did Amnesty International say?
“Dozens, possibly hundreds” of civilians were killed in a “massacre” in the context of the conflict in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, on Monday night, Amnesty International said.
These would be the first large-scale civilian deaths in the conflict, should these reports be confirmed.
And obtaining information became difficult with the disruption of telephone lines and the Internet.
Tension prevailed for a long time between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which controls the northernmost state, before the matter turned into military clashes that included government forces launching air strikes.
As a result, thousands of civilians crossed into Sudan, which he says will shelter them in a refugee camp.
Who are the victims?
Amnesty said in a statement that it could confirm that “dozens, possibly hundreds, were stabbed to death in the town of Mai Kadra, southwest of Tigray, Ethiopia on the night of 9 November.”
The human rights organization confirmed that it “has digitally verified horrific photos and videos of corpses scattered around the city or carried on stretchers.”
Amnesty International said that the victims appeared to be workers who did not take part in the conflict.
Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director of Eastern and Southern Africa, described the incident as a “terrible tragedy” and urged the government to restore communication and allow observers access to conflict areas?
Amnesty said that witnesses reported wounds “caused by sharp weapons such as knives and machetes.”
Some witnesses said that the forces loyal to the TPLF carried out the attacks after they were defeated by federal forces in the “Lugdi” region.
The United Nations said vital aid supplies to hundreds of thousands of people in northern Ethiopia are threatened by the conflict there.
What is the background?
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered government forces to clash with forces loyal to the TPLF on 4 November after he said army camps had been attacked.
There have been a number of clashes and airstrikes since then.
On Thursday, Abiy Ahmed said government forces had made significant gains.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front was the strongest member of the ruling coalition in Ethiopia for many years, but Abiy worked to curb its influence after coming to power in 2018, while the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front refused to join a united party.
Tigrayans say they have been unfairly targeted through purges and allegations of corruption.
Abiy Ahmed accuses some of the leaders of the People’s Liberation Front for the Liberation of Tigrayans of being “fugitives” and opposes his moves to reform the way Ethiopia is run.