(By Mekete Tigray UK, Updated 21 December 2020)
The World is Failing the over eight million Tigrayans in Ethiopia: Ethnic cleansing, war crimes and genocide by unelected Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, President Isaias Afeworki and Amhara Special Forces and militias.
- Tigray is home to the ancient Kingdom of Aksum which existed from approximately 80 BC to AD 825. It is home to the legendary, the Ark of the Covenant, historic obelisks, churches, the Negashi Mosque, etc.
- Tigray is known for being a source of Christianity and a foundation for the emergence of the State of Ethiopia.
- The people of Tigray fought a bitter war against the Ethiopian military junta, the Derg, for 17 years and were instrumental in establishing a federal system since 1991. The Ethiopian former Prime Minister Melese Zenawi who is a Tigrayan mobilised his political party, the Ethiopian Peoples’ Democratic Front (EPRDF) had accomplished impressive economic development in the country for more than two decades.
- When Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018, following the resignation of his predecessor, Prime Minister Desalegn Hailemariam, he deliberately targeted Tigrayan officials and interests despite their sacrifices and dedication to the building of modern Ethiopia.
- Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed began demolishing the federal system and turned into extreme repression since he came to power in 2018; he also postpended national elections in the summer 2020 with the pretext of Covd-19 while undertaking major political campaigns and gatherings.
- The Tigray regional authorities held regional election in 9th September 2020 where 2.7 million Tigrayans took part in the elections. The Prime Minister warned and vowed to deploy military force as a response to undermine the people of Tigray democratic rights.
- On 3 November 2020, the Tigray regional government declared that the Northern Command of the Ethiopian army aligned with them and they would defend themselves and the country from the aggressive and imminent plans of the Prime Minister Abiy’s and his close allay, the President of Eritrea, Isaias Afeworki, who has never ever held elections in his own country for the last 30 years.
- The Federal Government declared war on Tigray on 3th November 2020, and air raids and bombardments began against Tigrayan cities, towns and villages on 4th November 2020.
- The entire Ethiopian army, the Amhara special forces and militias along with the Eritrean infantry and mechanised divisions have been deployed to Tigray in the name of ‘law enforcement operation’. Modern drones supplied by United Arab Emirate (UAE), are also used against targets in Tigray including Schools, Universities, Churches, Factories, Tekeze Dam, Hotels and public infrastructure. It is reported that the UAE is supplying and operating such sophisticated weaponry against civilians. The Tigray authorities began defending themselves within the borders of Tigray. It is estimated that more than half a million troops and militias are deployed and the majority entered into Tigray who has a population of over five million according to the 2017 Ethiopian population census.
- Prime Minister Abi Ahmed refused to deescalate and stop the war; he invoked the non-intervention rule of international law while the existence of a whole ethnic group is at stake; Eritrean armed forces, Amhara special forces and militias are participating in the war inside Tigray and engaging en mass killings and property destruction and looting, it does not make any sense to refer to non-interference under such circumstances. The international community failed to let Abiy Ahmed know that the non-intervention rule could not be used at the expense of grave violations of international law committed against own people.
Systematic and widespread international crimes against Tigrayans:
Since the start of the armed violence three weeks ago, Tigrayans have become the direct target of all sorts of heinous crimes; this is the case both in the war zone and in other regions of the Country.
Since the deployment made of Amhara special forces and militias, the Ethiopian and Eritrean armed forces into Tigray, Tigrayan civilians have become subject to extrajudicial killings, rape, bodily harm, confiscation and looting of their property in almost all cities, towns and villages of Tigray. The towns of Dansha, Humora, Shire, Mai Tsebri, Axum, Adwa, Rama and Adigrat and other villages of central Tigray have been subjected to such widespread crimes.
Credible reports are coming out now that the widely circulated MaiKadra massacre in western Tigray was against Tigrayans and not the Amharas. Eyewitness accounts and those who escape the massacre are giving their eye witnessing so from the Sudanese refugee camps as reported by Sky News and some journalists via Twitter.
Ethiopian and Eritrean armed forces are shelling Tigrayan cities, towns and villages deliberately and indiscriminately. The Town of Humera, Sheraro, Shire, Axum, Rama, Zalambesa, Adigrat, Alamata, Wukro and Mekele have been targeted by heavy artillery and many civilians have been killed and maimed as a result. On 26 November, the city of Wukro was subjected to artillery shelling, air and drone raids where 70 civilians have been seriously injured and/or died; the victims have spoken from hospital beds in Mekelle hospitals. It has to be noted that a University, churches and farms have been air raided by the Ethiopian and Eritrean forces. Consequently, many civilians including children, women and elderly have been killed and wounded deliberately as described in the audio recording by ENDF soldier below. (Please see fact below from Lord David Alton)
Lord (David) Alton @DavidAltonHL 19h
“Establishing the Truth About Tigray: The Telegraph reports indiscriminate shelling and brutal murders by militias. Why hasn’t the UN Secretary General demanded access and flown there to establish for himself what is happening in Tigray?” (https://davidalton.net/2020/11/27/)
There are fresh reports coming from western Tigray that Tigrayan civilians are being rounded up in Mai Tsebri and 70 of them have been executed; there are also credible reports that have been revealed via family channels that up to 2000 Tigrayan innocent civilians have been rounded up in Dansha by the Amhara militias and taken away to an unknown locations; families are fearing that they may kill them simply because of their Tigrayan identity.
The Ethiopian army is now advancing to Mekele, there is a real danger that the Eritrean and Ethiopian armies and accompanied by Amhara special forces and militias may continue their policy of extra-judicial killings, serious sexual violence, looting and the destruction of public and private property with the intention of dehumanising and exterminating the people of Tigray.
Twitters on Twitter has been reporting that Somalian troops are in Adigrat, Tigray to support Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Abiy is widening his war on Tigray involving Somalia, Eritrea and UAE. Why the western countries are allowing to rake havoc the peace of the Horn of Africa?
More seriously, farmlands are targeted by the ENDF military; and crops, foodstuff and livestock are burnt down, killed and taken away by the advancing armies; millions of Tigrayans are, therefore, in a desperate situation as they do not have access to any humanitarian or state assistance for their survival.
There are also a very concerning developing story coming from the Tigray-Sudan border; Tigrayan refugeeswho are trying to cross the border are deliberately stopped from leaving by the army and Amhara militias and are becoming subject to bodily harm, killings, rape and other forms of harassment.
Outside the war zone, the Abiy government has imprisoned all Tigrayan members of the Armed forces who were serving the UN peacekeeping missions in Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. They have been repatriated to Addis Ababa and their whereabouts is not known. A secretly recorded UN memo revealed and warned that they be been subject to torture and execution.
Members of the Ethiopian defence forces of Tigrayan origin have been disarmed and taken to unknown locations in central and other parts of Ethiopia; their families do not know their whereabouts. This includes senior military officers who have been accused of helping the Tigray authorities. The same happened to those who were serving for security agencies and public and civil service departments.
Ordinary civilians engaged in business, study, work and other professional activities in Addis Ababa and other parts of Ethiopian have become subject to searches, detention, harassment, freezing their bank accounts, confiscation of their properties and other forms of abuse. This is done through a coordinated bodies and committees that involve different ministries and security agencies.
Universities, schools, hospitals, private and public factories, infrastructure are being bombed and looted since the war began. Civilians are subjected to ex-judicial killings and rape by Amhara special forces and militias and Eritrean Army with impunity whilst the ENDF army standing and watching. Indiscriminate air and artillery bombardments in Wukro and Mekele have killed thousands of civilians, and nearly 44,000 Tigrayans are now forced to leave their home and fled to Sudan.
Looting has become another tool of war engagement by the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments. Reports from different sources have confirmed the looting in Tigray in a colossal scale that never seen before and taken to Eritrea and Amhara region. Eritreahub.org reported that President Isaias Afeworki has mobilised thousands of Eritrean citizens to participate in looting all assets including military and industrial equipment, warehouses, private and public properties in Adigrat, Aksum and Adwa whilst Ethiopian army watching. Likewise, Twitter users twitted that the Amhara Special Forces, Militias and civilians have been looting Tigrayan properties from districts of western Tigray. The Amhara regional government is also conducting a campaign of Tigrayan ethnic cleansing and harassment by ordering Tigyayans to leave from the districts of Tsegede, Walkaite and Kafta Humera in western Tigray.
- The ENDF and Eritrean Army, supported by Amhara Special Forces and Militias, have been distroying Humera, Sheraro, Shire, Aksum, Adwa, Adigrat, Alamata, Edaga Hamus, Sinkata, Wukro, and are still shelling Mekelle and its surroundings indiscriminately resulting in many civilians including children, women and the elderly to have been killed and wounded. To the contrary of Abiy’s false statement to the Parliament, The ENDF, Eritrean Army and Amhara Special Forces and Militias are not disciplined as claimed by PM Abiy Ahmed. Evidently, an ENDF soldier has revealed in audio recording below that “orders were given to us to kill including unarmed non-combatant civilians” with impunity and carried on to confess that “I myself killed 30 both armed and unarmed civilians”.
What do these events and information tell us:
- There is a deliberate, systemic and widespread policy of ethnic cleansing, war crimes and potentially genocide going on against Tigrayans both in Tigray and in other parts of Ethiopia. At least, there is a case to be made for investigation and prevention of further crimes.
- The Ethiopian and Eritrean governments and their Amhara extremists are working to demonise, eliminate and subjugate all Tigrayans without any distinction of their political believes, profession, livelihood and gender.
A call to the international community:
- Say stop to the ethnic cleansing, war crimes and potentially genocide going on in Ethiopia against Tigrayans before it is too late;
- Don’t wait until Rwanda Tutsis genocide repeats itself;
- Demand and monitor the whereabouts of the thousands of Tigrayans taken away by ENDF army, Amhara special forces and militias, the Federal Police and security forces within and outside Tigray;
- Demand immediate restoration of telecommunication, Internet and humanitarian access to Tigray;
- Send investigators, observers and missions to assess this humanitarian catastrophe;
- The UN and the AU must make sure that their peacekeepers are safe and well within the framework of the UN System of peacekeeping;
- Ensure the protection of thousands of city dwellers in Mekelle and elsewhere, women, children, the elderly and other victims of the armed conflict and demand the protection of historic sites, churches, mosques, etc.
- Demand respect and ensuring respect for international human rights and humanitarian norms.
- Don’t fail the over five million Tigrayan civilians in Ethiopia; spare them from the extreme cruelty they have become subject to by the Ethiopian and Eritrean despotic leaders and the Amhara extremist militias.
Mekete Tigray Steering Committee UK
Listen to the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) soldier audio interview about the war in Tigray – Afaan Oromo translation to Amharic and English below.
This audio was produced by Oromo Global Network
አንድ የሃገር መከላከያ ሠራዊት አባል 30 ያልታጠቁ ትግሬዎችን ገድያለሁ ይላል a member of ENDF says killed 30 unarmed civilians.
*** በትርጉም ሥራ ውስጥ ጥያቄዎች ሁሉ በጥያቄ ምልክት ተዘግተዋል። መልሶች ሁሉ በ4 ነጥብ ተዘግተዋል።
ወያኔ በእጅ አልያዘቻችሁም እንዴት ብላ ነው ገንዘብ ሊትዘርፋችሁ የቻለች?
This is an English translation of the secretly recoded audio that was released on our YouTube Channel this translation was done to the best of my language knowledge and ability to clearly hear the audio. All questions are marked with question marks, all answers are either with full stop or non.
TPLF didn’t capture you how did they manage to take your money?
They surrounded us and slaughtered soldier.
yes with knife.
Where are you now in what part of Tigray are you?
I am in Bahr Dar in Amhara region.
so the wounded ones are taken to Bahr Dar?
Yes about 6000 wounded Soldiers are here
Those who lost arms and eyesight
So these are wounded soldiers from your unit, it has been said that other units too were badly hit is that right?
That’s right, everywhere you go in Tigray there’s human body.
Everywhere human body? so numbers of causalities is not correctly known?
Yes a lot of people have been killed
Wait a minute, the wounded are taken to Bahr Dar, what about the ones who are killed? they just leave them in Tigray?
They bury the dead in a shallow graves
Who are the majority fighters? it has been said that Oromo is the largest number fighting against TPLF, what information do you have on this?
That’s not true
So all the armed force is equally participating? Are Oromo members of the ENDF with Amhara? and you two are brothers in arms in accordance with your training doctrine?
Yes we are bothers in arms, except the Tigrians who betrayed us.
Ok so beside the Tigrians you are all together, what about the other nations and nationalities? are they too with you guys?
Oromo, Amhara, Wolayta, Benishangul, Afar, and Somali.
Beside those whom you just mentioned other nations and nationalities are not with you?
Others are killed with bullets.
So the majority are Amharas and Oromos? Oromo’s number is higher?
Yes the whole thing is Oromo
Did you guys volunteered to deploy and fight in Tigray or you are specifically trained for it and forced in to it?
It’s for the country, they killed the whole NDF and try to create chaos between Amhara and Oromo.
Was that what they (TPLF) intended to do? Yes they said that, haven’t you heard from the media?
We follow the media, there are different medias we hear different news but we couldn’t figure out which news is telling the truth and which one is lying.
Amharic media such as FANA
You guys listen to that? [FANA]
WALTA and FANA both clearly transmit in Amharic and Afaan Oromo
You guys follow the media and fight at the same time, when did you get wounded and medically evacuated? Didn’t you see when the Oromo General was giving media briefing?
Yes I saw him
AT THIS POINT I COULD NOT TRANSLATE THE AUDIO DUE TO LACUK OF CLIRITY HOWEVER I AM SEEKING FOR HELP FROM OTHER EXPERTS.
“The entire Oromo resource is in Tigray” (The Soldier said)
It’s not just Oromia, they were ruling the whole country, and the weapons were always there.
Now if you see roads in Tigray and compare them to those in Hararge [Oromia] and the Amhara region.
Ok. How the Eritrean tanks flay over those roads.You guys went to Eritrea too?
Yes, they took our weapons, while we were fighting they start stealing our weapons.
You guys fought with EPLF? Why would you two fight Isayas and Abiy are together?
We flee toward Eritrea
Did Tigray chased you to Eritrea?
Some of us were kidnapped, and some were killed, mid night, we were sleeping, when they opened fire on us, there were 55 vehicles.
They came and surrounded you without your knowledge?
Yes they surrounded us.
They are saying that they have captured Mekele, as someone who was at the battle field, which force lost the most Soldiers? (ENDF or TNF)
They were killing even infants.
Was it the national defense force killing infants?
Yes infants, women, elderly…..
Those of you who are deployed to Tigray, do you kill the unarmed once too for just being Tigrian?
I myself killed 30
Are those whom you have killed armed or unarmed?
I killed both armed and unarmed
Were you ordered to kill everything you see or you were killing voluntarily?
Yes orders were given to us [to kill including unarmed non combatant civilians]
Were you told not to pass a Tigrian with a gun? [were you told to kill all Tigrians]
Yes we were told to kill the mentally ill, old women and so on.
Have you suffered severe wound?
No my wound is on my hand, I am recovering and going back to war.
Are you going back to war?
Now this is voluntary not for the freedom of the nation.
Yes I don’t mind to go and die there.
Are you a member of the Oromia police force or national defense force?
I am a member of the national defense force
Is the Oromia Police force too in the war? Why would the police go to war?
You mean police doesn’t fight?
Does it look like a neighborhood war to you?
AT LEAST THE LAST MINUTE AND HALF WAS NOT TRANSLATED DUE TO LACK OF CLEARITY IN THE AUDIO. Please refer to our YouTube Chanel for the full audio content and its Amharic version of translation under the video on our channel. https://youtu.be/KPAA-KZW4GU
***የዚህ ድምጽ የአማርኛ ትርጉም እንደሚከተለው ይሆናል (English translation of this audio has just been added below the Amharic translation, please use the link below the Amharic translation to access the English version. https://www.facebook.com/AbiyMustFaceICC/posts/198274718521369?__tn__=K-R