UM RAKOUBA, Sudan (AP) – The only thing survivors can accept is the massacre of hundreds of people in a single Ethiopian city.
Witnesses say security forces and allies attacked civilians in Mai-Kadra with their hands and knives or strangled them with ropes. The stench of dead bodies lingered for days as the first anarchy of the Ethiopian government’s attack last month. Several mass graves have been reported.
What has happened since November 9 in the agricultural town near the Sudanese border is one of the most brutal in the war, fought on a large scale in the shadows. But even here, it is unclear who was killed.
Witnesses in Mai-Kadra told the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International that ethnic Tigrian forces and allies had attacked the Amhara minority in Tigre, one of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic groups. In Sudan, where about 50,000 people have fled, an ethnic food refugee gave a similar account to the Associated Press.
But more than a dozen Tigrian refugees told the APO that it was the other way around: in similar stories, they and others said they were targeted by Ethiopian federal forces and allied Amhara local troops.
The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a crowd of 2,000, according to Amnesty International.
Tesfalem Jermei, a Tigrayan who fled to Sudan with his family about the Ethiopian and food forces, said, “They will kill anyone they find. He said he saw hundreds of bodies. A piece gestured to his neck and head.
But another refugee, Abbott Refe, told the AP that Amhara, a descendant of many of his descendants, had been massacred by Tigrian forces.
“Even the government didn’t think we were alive. They thought we were all dead,” he said.
Since the Ethiopian army entered Tigre on November 4 and sealed off the area from the world, the conflicting descriptions have symbolized a war since journalists and aid workers alike were restricted. For weeks, food and other supplies Terribly low. Ethiopian security forces opened fire this week A senior Ethiopian official said UN officials, who had initially assessed how to provide assistance, were briefly detained.
The government of Ethiopia and the Tigris government were full of propaganda. The murders in Mai-Kadra are captured every year.
The conflict began after months of clashes between governments that considered each other illegal. Tigre leaders once dominated Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, but when they came to power in 2018, they were replaced by Prime Minister Abi Ahmed.
In western Tigray, where Mai-Kadra is located, long-running land disputes between Tigray and Amhara have fueled the fire.
Amnesty International says at least scores and hundreds of people have been killed in Mai-Kadra. Video and photographs of the bodies were examined using geolocation. It also conducted a remote “limited set of interviews.”
Mai-Kadra is “just the tip of the iceberg,” Angresti researcher Fiseha Techle said at an event Tuesday, raising fears of violence elsewhere in the Tigris. “Other credible allegations are being made … not only in Mai-Kadra, but also in the nearby town of Humera, the town of Dansha, and the capital of Tigre, McClellan.
In Mai-Kadra, witnesses told the visiting Ethiopian Rights Commission that they saw police, militia and members of a Tigre youth group attacking Amhara.
“The bodies of those who were not cremated were lying in the streets,” the commission said. A man who looked at the identity cards of the dead while removing the bodies told Amnesty International that many of them were Amhara.
Many ethnic Tigris who fled blamed Ethiopian and allied Amhara local forces for the killings in the same city at the same time, and some demanded to see identification cards before the attack.
In some cases, they said, the killers were identified as their neighbors.
Sameer Bain, a mechanic, said he was stopped and asked if he was a Tigrian, then beaten and robbed. He said he had seen people being slaughtered with knives and dozens of rotting corpses.
“It was like the end of the world,” he recalled. We could not bury them because the soldiers were nearby.
Cut out of homes, refugees are now living in naked concrete houses in Sudan or shelters beaten together from plastic and branches, playing checkers with Coca-Cola bottle caps, or stretching out sleeping mats, trying to escape horrible memories.
The EP could not obtain permission to travel to the Tigre region and could not independently examine reports of the massacre. Neither Amnesty International nor the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission agreed to requests to speak with interviewed witnesses.
The Ethiopian Commission, created under the country’s constitution, called its findings “preliminary.” Its investigators were allowed by the federal government to visit Mai-Kadra, but when asked if they were allowed to investigate other atrocities, spokesman Aaron Masho replied, “We are working on it.”
The UN human rights office this week called for an independent inquiry into the conflict, but Ethiopian officials declined to call for intervention, saying the government did not need a “baby sitter” this week.
Redwan Hussein, a senior Ethiopian official, told reporters.
The prime minister called the killings in Mai-Kadra a “symbol of moral decay” and suspected that the perpetrators were fleeing to Sudan and hiding among refugees. Abby gave no evidence, citing only the number of young refugees – though about half were women.
The prime minister also denied allegations of abuse by the Ethiopian defense forces. “Not a single person was killed in any city during the fighting.”
But Tigre leader Debrecen Zebremikel, who blamed the “occupying” federal forces for the killings, told the AP that “we are not people who can commit this crime forever.”
Racial tensions and profiling must end, says UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, who warned this week that “divisions are growing and sowing the seeds of further instability and conflict” – in an area where there are already two.
Contributed by Associated Press writers Sami Maggie of Cairo and Hallelujah Hadero of Atlanta.