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The U.S. reports that the war in Ethiopia has led to ethnic cleansing in the Tigray region

Ethiopian refugees fleeing the Tigray area in the United Nations compound in Hamdet, Sudan on December 5, 2020.  (Taylor Hicks/The New York Times)

Ethiopian refugees fleeing the Tigray area in the United Nations compound in Hamdayet, Sudan on December 5, 2020. (Tyler Hicks / “The New York Times”)

Nairobi, Kenya-According to an internal US government report obtained by the New York Times, Ethiopian officials and Allied militias are carrying out a systematic ethnic cleansing campaign in the war-torn area of ​​Tigray in northern Ethiopia.

The report, written earlier this month, records in clear terms a piece of land looted houses and deserted villages, with thousands of people missing.

According to the report, fighters and officials from the Amhara region of Ethiopia’s neighboring country entered Tigray in support of Prime Minister Abi Ahmed. The descendants tend to be homogeneous”.

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The report stated: “The entire village has been severely damaged or completely wiped out.”

Amnesty International said in a second report released on Friday that soldiers from Eritrea systematically killed hundreds of Tigrayan civilians in the ancient city of Axum within 10 days of November, and shot and killed them on the street. some people.

The situation in Tigri is getting worse. The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy launched a surprising military offensive in November. Tigray is becoming the first major test of the Biden administration in Africa. Former President Donald Trump paid little attention to the continent and never visited it, but President Joe Biden promised to take a more positive attitude.

In a call with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday, Biden raised the Tigray crisis. The two leaders discussed “the growing humanitarian and human rights crisis in the Tigri region of Ethiopia, and the need to prevent further deaths and ensure humanitarian access,” the White House said in a statement.

But so far, Biden and other U.S. officials have been reluctant to criticize Abby’s war behavior publicly, while European leaders and UN officials are increasingly worried about outspoken reports of atrocities.

On Tuesday, the EU diplomatic envoy, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, told reporters that the situation in Tigri was “very out of control” after returning from the fact-finding mission to Ethiopia and Sudan. At the beginning of the conflict, the EU suspended US$110 million in aid to Ethiopia. Last month, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned about possible war crimes committed by Tigray, stating that the crisis “has unrest in the entire region”.

Ethiopia usually uses the miss feet of its enemies in Tigre to refute criticisms of its Tigray campaign. But on Friday afternoon, in response to Amnesty International’s report, Abi’s office said it was ready to cooperate in an international investigation to investigate the atrocities in Tigray. The government said in a statement: “The government reaffirms its commitment to building a stable and peaceful region.”

Abi’s office also claimed that Ethiopia had “freely” entered Tigray’s international aid organizations, while UN officials estimated that due to government restrictions, aid organizations could only reach 20% of the area.

The U.S. State Department said that the new U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Ahmed on the phone on February 4 and urged him to allow humanitarian personnel to enter Tigray.

Alex DeVal, an expert on the Horn of Africa at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, said that it is time for the United States to urgently focus on the Tigray crisis before committing more atrocities and humanitarian crises. Towards famine.

He said: “What is needed is the highest level of political leadership, which means the United States.”

Dewar said that when the United States assumed the presidency of the UN Security Council in March, it should use this position to exert international pressure on belligerents to withdraw from destructive conflicts.

After months of tension with the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, Abiy launched the Tigray campaign on November 4, which has ruled Ethiopia for nearly three decades. Until Abiy came to power in 2018.

However, many of the most serious abuses in the war were not attributed to the Ethiopian Army or TPLF (its armed branch is now called the Tigri Defence Force), but to the irregular and undeclared assembly after the Abi military operations Of troops.

Within weeks of the beginning of the conflict, the first soldiers from Eritrea (Ethiopia had been Ethiopia’s painful opponents until the 2018 peace agreement) quietly entered Tigri to assist Abi’s overspending of federal forces.

In the western part of Tigray, ethnic fighters from Amhara, an area that had long competed with Tigray, poured in and quickly helped Abiy to occupy the area.

Experts say that the most serious allegations, including rape, plunder and massacre, are Eritreans and Amhara militants, who may constitute war crimes.

The US government’s report on the situation in western Tigray vividly recorded the situation in western Tigray, which apparently expelled the Tigrayan population under the cover of war.

The report documents how the Tiglayan people were attacked in several towns and their houses were looted and burnt down. Some people fled into the bushes. Others crossed the border illegally into Sudan; the report also stated that some people were rounded up and forcibly moved to other parts of Tigray.

In contrast, the report claims that Oman Hara’s most populous town is booming, with shops, bars and restaurants Xixi bus.

Since the outbreak of the Tigri crisis, the US report is not the first allegation of ethnic cleansing. But it does highlight how American officials quietly record these abuses and report them to their superiors in Washington.

The imminent specter of massive hunger is also driving people’s sense of urgency for Tigri. The Tigri Emergency Coordination Center managed by the Ethiopian Federal Government stated that at least 4.5 million people in the region urgently need food assistance. Ethiopian officials said some people have died.

The Times obtained a document from the Tigray State Government on February 2. The document stated that 21 people starved to death in the Glomokda Tigray region in the eastern east. Aid officials warned that such numbers may be just the tip of the iceberg.

The president of the Ethiopian Red Cross, Abera Tola, told reporters at the beginning of this month: “Today may be one, two or three, but one month later, it means thousands.” “Two months. Later, it will be thousands.”

However, the political anger against Tigri, especially among European legislators, has intensified due to increasing reports of human rights violations.

Amnesty International issued a report on Friday that Eritrean soldiers conducted house-to-house searches in Axum in November, shooting civilians in the streets and carrying out extrajudicial executions of men and boys. The report stated that after the shooting ceased, residents who tried to remove their bodies from the street were expelled.

Amnesty International says the massacre may be a crime against humanity. Eritrean Information Minister Yemane G. Meskel rejected the report, saying it was “obviously unprofessional”.

Axum is an ancient city of ruins and churches, which is of great significance to people who believe in the Ethiopian Orthodox faith. When Eritrean soldiers let go and allowed the collection of bodies, hundreds of people gathered in churches, including St. Mary’s Church in Zion, and many Ethiopians believed that the church’s ark-reportedly holding a stele with ten statues. Commandments-to be placed.

This article was originally published in The New York Times.

©2021 The New York Times Company

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