| 28 May 2024, Tuesday |

At least 750 killed in north Ethiopia in second half of 2021: Rights body

According to Ethiopia’s rights body, at least 750 citizens were slain or executed in the Amhara and Afar regions in the second half of 2021.

Its investigation also detailed extensive human rights violations, such as torture, gang rape, and enforced disappearances.

Since Tigrayan rebels fighting government forces launched an offensive into the neighboring regions of northern Ethiopia in July last year, at least 403 civilians have died and 309 have been injured in air raids, drone strikes, and heavy artillery fire, according to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.

According to the EHRC, a state-affiliated impartial authority, at least 346 civilians were killed in extrajudicial killings carried out by the warring parties, primarily Tigrayan rebels but also government forces and their allies.

It also accused Tigrayan rebels of severe violations in the two regions bordering Tigray, including gang rape, torture, looting, and the destruction of public buildings including as hospitals and schools.

“In sections of the Afar and Amhara regions under their authority, Tigray Forces committed widespread, cruel, and systematic sexual and gender-based violence, including gang rape against women of all ages, including girls and elderly women,” it stated.

The study claims that “Tigray troops engaged in abductions and enforced disappearances in a way that may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity,” as well as accusing federal and local security forces in Amhara and Afar of widespread arbitrary detentions.

More than 2,400 health facilities, including hospitals, had shut down in the two districts “as a result of the destruction, damage, and pillage they suffered,” according to the study, while over 1,000 schools had been demolished and another 3,220 had been damaged.

The crisis in the north began in November 2020, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed dispatched troops to Tigray to overthrow the ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), citing the rebel group’s attacks on army bases as justification.

The TPLF reorganized and retook control of Tigray’s cities and towns in June, then launched offensives into Afar and Amhara.

The rebels claimed to be marching on Addis Ababa in November 2021, but the government responded by launching a counter-offensive, retaking lost territory in Amhara and Afar.

Despite the fact that the violence has subsided, the UN stated on Monday that since November, at least 304 civilians have been killed in air strikes in the north, primarily in Tigray.

The war in Africa’s second-most populated country has killed thousands of people and pushed hundreds of thousands to the verge of starvation, according to the UN and the US.

  • AFP