A massacre in Abuna Yemata Guh, at the foot of the famous rock-hewn church

Eritrea Tigray

(Source: Tghat) –

Gebrehiwet Gebreanenya and Abraha Gebreanenya are two married brothers who live in the house of their parents with their elderly father Gebreanenya Gebreegziabher, their wives and children. Gebrehiwet and his wife Tsegu Gebremichael had two children, Samrawit and Yordanos; and Abraha, his elder brother, and his wife Hiwet Birhane, had four children: Mahlet, Zufan, Rahel and a not-yet-christened baby. Both of them are farmers and everyday they move with their cattle to grazing lands and waters, only coming back to spend the night at home.

On Friday, May 7, 2021, a fighting took place between Eritrean and Tigrayan forces in the village of Abune Y’ma’eta Guh, at the foot of the famous rock-hewn church. The village residents all fled to the mountains and spent the day in caves. In the evening, when the fighting stopped, they came down to their village to spend the night in their homes. The next day, on Saturday, Gebrehiwet and Abraha discussed the plan for the day and as usual left with their cattle. The plan was for their wives, their children and their elderly father to join the other village residents and flee to the caves as they did the day before. Everyone was preparing food, water and other essentials for the day and early around 8 AM, just when they were about to leave the village, Eritrean troops unexpectedly came to the village, visited the houses, dragged the civilians out and massacred them in their farmlands. They shot 21 people in total and 19 of them died, two survived but in severely wounded condition. Seven of the killed are children under the age of 10, one of them a one-month-old baby. They killed everyone they found in the village.

The victims included 9 members of the Gebreaneneya family and 12 others. These are: Akebom Gebresilassie, Amit Abadi, Gidey Gebreqorqos , Awetash Tsadiq, Tsegu Gebreegzibher with her son, Tekle Gebrehiet, Alemtsehay Gidey (her son severely wounded). Birhan Abraha (with her two children). Alemtsehay’s father, Gidey, was killed by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers back in November.

When Gebrehiwet and Abraha came back in the evening, they found 8 members of the household massacred in a field some 20 minutes-walk away from their house. Their father Gebreanenya, Abraha’s wife and his four children including the not-yet-christened baby were all killed. Gebrehiwet’s wife Tsegu and his 2-year-old daughter Yordanos were also killed. His daughter Samrawit was wounded by bullets and machete, but she survived.

The troops first shot Samrawit on her right thigh and leg. When they knew she was not dead, they used machete to injure her right thigh and leg. Samrawit is four and half years old. Her father brought her to Ayder on foot through Agoza-Tsigereda route because the Megab – Abraha we Atsbeha route was occupied by the troops. Some other men from the village helped him carry her in an improvised stretcher. They started the journey on Thursday May 13 and arrived at Ayder Referral Hospital on Saturday May 15. They were lucky to find a car on the way from Tsigereda to Wukro, which brought them to Mekelle.

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