Nairobi, Kenya (AP)- Amnesty International said on Friday that in the Axum massacre in the Tigray region of Ethiopia in late November, soldiers from Eritrea systematically killed “hundreds”, most of whom were men. This new report echoes the findings reported by the Associated Press last week and cited more than 40 eyewitnesses.
As it may be the deadliest massacre of the Tigri conflict, Ethiopia is facing increasing pressure, and the Prime Minister’s Office announced that “it has now provided humanitarian agencies with unrestricted access to aid to the region”. It added that the government “welcomes international technical assistance for investigations (suspected of abuse) and invites potential joint investigations.”
However, the government said the amnesty report relied on “rare information”
Spokesperson Conor Fortune said in an email to the Associated Press: “As we all know, there has not been any independent human rights monitor in the area since the outbreak of the conflict.”
Daniel Becker, the head of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission established by the government, is of vital importance. He said the results of the amnesty investigation “should be taken very seriously.” The committee’s statement stated that the committee’s own preliminary findings “show that an unknown number of Eritrean soldiers were killed in Exum.”
The Amnesty International report described soldiers shooting civilians as they fled, lining up and shooting backwards, gathering “hundreds or even thousands” as beaters, and refusing to allow those distressed to bury the dead.
A report issued earlier on Friday stated that in about 24 hours, “Eritrean soldiers deliberately fired at civilians in the street, conducted systematic house-to-house searches, and extrajudicial executions of men and boys.” “The massacre was in retaliation for an earlier attack by a small number of local militias, and the local residents were still holding sticks and stones.”
The report said that the “mass executions” of civilians in Aksum by the Eritrean army could constitute a crime against humanity, and called on international investigations led by the United Nations, human rights organizations, journalists and humanitarian workers to make full use of Tigray. Since the fighting began in early November, the area has been largely cut off.
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The Ethiopian federal government denies the existence of soldiers from neighboring Eritrea. Eritrea has long been the enemy of the now-fleeing leaders in the Tigri region. The Eritrean government regards the Associated Press’s story about the Aksum massacre as “heinous lies.” . Eritrean Information Minister Yeman Gebremskell said on Friday that the Amnesty International report stated that the country was “outraged and firmly rejected the absurd allegations”.
However, even the senior officials of the Ethiopian Provisional Government appointed in Tigri acknowledged the presence of Eritrean soldiers and allegations of widespread looting and killing.
Ethiopia said that “Axum’s “suspected incident” must be thoroughly investigated.”
The Ethiopian ambassador to Belgium, Hirut Zemene, said in a webinar on Thursday that the so-called November massacre was an “extremely unlikely situation”, “We suspect this is a very, very crazy idea. “.
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No one knows that thousands of civilians were killed in the conflict between the Ethiopian Allied Forces and the Tigray State Government. The state government has ruled the Ethiopian government for a long time until Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018. Humanitarian officials have warned that the number of people in the intensifying conflict may starve to death because visits are improving, but they are still restricted.
In response to the Amnesty International report, Josep Borrell, the head of EU foreign policy, said: “The hostilities must stop immediately.” He added, “The level of suffering experienced by civilians, including children, is shocking. .”
The presence of Eritrean soldiers in Tigri caused a certain amount of alertness. The United States has repeatedly urged Eritrea to retreat its soldiers and cited credible reports as “serious” human rights violations.
On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken said that the U.S. is “seriously concerned” about reports of atrocities.
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Brinken said: “The United States has repeatedly engaged with the Ethiopian government to stop violence, ensure that humanitarian aid enters Tigri unhindered, and allow full, independent, international investigations of all reports of human rights violations, abuses, and atrocities. “In a statement. “Those who are responsible for them must be held accountable.”
Witnesses to the Axum massacre told Amnesty International that Ethiopian soldiers and Eritrean soldiers jointly controlled the city, but Eritreans carried out the massacre and then conducted door-to-door raids on men and teenage boys.
Witnesses said that the bodies were scattered on the street after the incident occurred from November 28 to 29.
A woman told Amnesty International: “The next day, they did not allow us to pick up the dead. The Eritrean soldiers said that you cannot bury the dead until our dead soldiers are buried.” Some witnesses said they were robbed in the hospital. Or when health workers fled, many people died of wounds due to lack of care.
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The new report said: “It takes several days to collect the bodies and carry out the funeral. Most of the dead appeared to be buried on November 30, but witnesses said that many other bodies were found in the following days.”
Witnesses stated that after obtaining permission from Ethiopian soldiers to bury the dead, they feared that the killing would resume at any time, even if they piled the bodies on horse-drawn carriages and took them to church for burial, sometimes even in mass graves.
The Associated Press spoke to him at a deacon at St. Mary’s Church in Zion. He said he helped count the dead bodies, collected the victims’ ID cards and assisted in the burial. He believes that about 800 people were killed in that city that weekend.
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After the body was exposed for a day or longer, the body began to decay, further hurting the family and the people who gathered for help.
The new report says that satellite images show new “disturbed soil” next to the church.