Ethiopian Rights Commission Alleges ‘Atrocious Massacre’ in Tigray

Ethiopia’s government-appointed human rights commission has accused a youth group in the rebellious Tigray region of carrying out “an atrocious massacre” of hundreds of civilians, aided by Tigrayan security forces.The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission on Tuesday issued a preliminary report alleging at least 600 people were killed in the Tigray region town of Mai-Kadra on November 9.From Nov. 14-19, @EthioHRC deployed experts to #Ethiopia’s Maikadra to carry out an investigation.
The probe finds atrocity crimes which may amount to crimes against humanity & war crimes were committed by ‘Samri’ group, aided & abetted by then-local admin, police & militia
— Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (@EthioHRC) A general view of a ditch in the outskirts of Mai Kadra, Ethiopia, Nov. 21, 2020, filled with more than 20 bodies of victims that were allegedly killed in a massacre on Nov. 9, 2020.“Just before they retreated and left the area, it has now become very clear that they have carefully planned and executed quite an atrocious massacre against the civilians, which targeted people on the basis of ethnic identity,” Daniel Bekele, the chief commissioner, told VOA in a phone interview Tuesday.  Bekele called it “an atrocity crime executed in a very terrible way, which may amount to crimes against humanity or even a war crime.”The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the Tigray region’s ruling party, did not immediately comment on the commission’s report, though it previously has denied involvement in the Mai-Kadra killings. Interrupted phone and internet connections in Tigray also make it difficult for journalists to independently verify information.Survivors of the Mai-Kadra massacre, recover at the Gondar University Hospital, in the city of Gondar, Ethiopia, Nov. 20, 2020.But Ashenafi said witnesses and survivors also related stories of humanity and heroism.An ethnic Tigrayan woman cited in the report “saved 13 ethnic Amharas. She hid them in her house” and later escorted them to temporary shelter on a large farm, Ashenafi said.Another Tigray woman suffered machete wounds on her hands as she tried to rescue a man who had been set on fire, Ashenafi said.Such efforts “gave us hope, and we believe a light should be shed on them,” the researcher said.In Twitter posts, Tibor Nagy, U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, condemned what he called “the massacre of civilians in Mai-Kadra.” He also called for Ethiopian authorities “to conduct a thorough investigation.”We urge the Ethiopian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into this massacre and to bring those responsible to justice in accordance with the rule of law.
— Tibor Nagy (@AsstSecStateAF) November 13, 2020(This report originated in VOA’s Africa Division, with Tsion Girma contributing from the Amhara Service.)

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