Ethiopia Tigray crisis: PM Abiy Ahmed accuses Tigrayan troops of massacre
Ethiopia’s prime minister has accused forces in the northern Tigray region of carrying out a massacre of civilians.
Abiy Ahmed said Ethiopian federal troops had “liberated” the western part of Tigray in “a victory for the innocent civilians of Mai-Kadra that were brutally massacred”.
In a separate statement, Mr. Abiy also said “bodies of members of the army, who were shot while their hands and legs were tied”, had been found.
Tigrayan officials deny the atrocities.
Witnesses blamed forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) for Monday’s killings – first reported by human rights group Amnesty International.
Fighting between government forces and the TPLF broke out last week.
Getting information is hard, with phone lines and the internet down.
This would be the first large-scale killing of civilians in the conflict.
There has been long-standing tension between Ethiopia’s government and the TPLF, which controls Tigray, the country’s northernmost state, and it has boiled over into military clashes, including airstrikes by federal forces.
As a result, thousands of civilians have crossed the border into Sudan, which says it will shelter them in a refugee camp.
Who were the victims?
Amnesty said the killings happened on the night of 9 November.
The human rights group said it had confirmed that “scores, and likely hundreds, of people, were stabbed or hacked to death in Mai-Kadra (May Cadera) town in the southwest Zone of Ethiopia’s Tigray region”.
It had seen and “digitally verified gruesome photographs and videos of bodies strewn across the town or being carried away on stretchers”.
Amnesty said the victims appeared to be laborers not involved in the conflict. It is not clear where they came from.
It said witnesses had spoken of wounds “inflicted by sharp weapons such as knives and machetes”. Some witnesses said the attacks were carried out by forces loyal to the TPLF after they had been defeated by federal troops in an area called Lugdi.