ADDIS ABABA – Witnesses have recounted how members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) carried out dozens of executions and widespread vandalism as they retreat north to flee attack by Ethiopian federal forces, the Human Rights Watch said today in a report.
“Tigrayan forces showed brutal disregard for human life and the laws of war by executing people in their custody,” said Lama Fakih, crisis and conflict director at Human Rights Watch. “These killings and other atrocities by all sides to the conflict underscore the need for an independent international inquiry into alleged war crimes in Ethiopia’s Tigray and Amhara regions.”
The report of killings by the TPLF forces in the regions of Amhara and Afar, the Human Rights Watch said, “highlight the urgent need for the United Nations Human Rights Council to establish an international investigative mechanism into abuses by all warring parties in the expanded Tigray conflict.”
According to the report, “On August 31, Tigrayan forces entered the village of Chenna and engaged in sporadic and at times heavy fighting with Ethiopian federal forces and allied Amhara militias.”
“Chenna residents told Human Rights Watch that over the next five days Tigrayan forces summarily executed 26 civilians in 15 separate incidents, before withdrawing on September,” it said.
“In the town of Kobo on September 9, Tigrayan forces summarily executed a total of 23 people in four separate incidents, witnesses said. The killings were in apparent retaliation for attacks by farmers on advancing Tigrayan forces earlier that day.”
One woman told the advocacy group that the TPLF forces “kicked and slapped my husband and brother-in-law. They ate our food and then they left and other Tigrayan forces came for some time and left, and a third group came. They stayed until midday.”
“They took my husband and brother-in-law with them in the direction of Chinchaye sub-village and kicked and slapped them. I followed them and they beat me, telling me to stay behind, but I ignored them.
“They spoke in Tigrinya, which I don’t understand, but also in Amharic and I heard them ask my husband and brother-in-law whether they were militia members. They said no, they were farmers. When we reached the edge of Chenchaye, they told my husband to put down a bag of bullets they had told him to carry and to turn his face away. Then one of them shot him in the back of the head. I fainted.”
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