TIGRAY, Ethiopia|SHIFTMEDIA| Amnesty International said Thursday that scores of civilians were killed in a “massacre” in Ethiopia’s Tigray region that witnesses blamed on forces backing the local ruling party. The “massacre” is the first reported incident of large-scale civilian…
The “massacre” is the first reported incident of large-scale civilian fatalities in a week-old conflict between the regional ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), and the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of last years Nobel Peace Prize.
The dead “had gaping wounds that appear to have been inflicted by sharp weapons such as knives and machetes,” Amnesty said, citing witness accounts.
Witnesses said the attack was carried out by TPLF-aligned forces after a defeat at the hands of the Ethiopian military, though Amnesty said it “has not been able to confirm who was responsible for the killings”. It nonetheless called on TPLF command.
It nonetheless called on TPLF commanders and officials to “make clear to their forces and their supporters that deliberate attacks on civilians are absolutely prohibited and constitute war crimes”.
Abiy ordered military operations in Tigray on November 4, saying they were prompted by a TPLF attack on federal military camps — a claim the party denies.
The region has been under a communications blackout ever since, making it difficult to verify competing claims on the ground.
Thousands of Ethiopians have fled across the border into neighbouring Sudan, and the UN is sounding the alarm about a humanitarian crisis in Tigray.