Tigrayans accused of ‘massacre’ in Ethiopian war as both sides …

ABC News: Tigrayans accused of ‘massacre’ in Ethiopian war as both sides claim gains, the commission finds Article share options Share this on Send this by Ethiopia’s state-appointed rights watchdog has accused a Tigrayan youth group of killing hundreds of civilians as federal and local forces both claimed advances in a three-week war in the country’s mountainous north. Key points: – The Commission accused Tigray forces of colluding in a “massacre” – Tigray forces say their troops were keeping federal forces at bay – The war has spread to Eritrea and Somalia where hundreds of Tigrayans were disarmed Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Government said enemy soldiers were surrendering as it advanced towards the regional capital, but the Tigrayans reported they were resisting and had destroyed a prestigious army division. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published findings into a November 9 attack in Mai Kadra in south-west Tigray, where it said a youth group called Samri killed at least 600 people of the minority Amhara and Wolkait ethnic groups in the town. They were beaten to death, stabbed, set on fire and strangled with ropes, the report said, though some residents protected neighbours by hiding them in homes. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) was not immediately available for comment but has previously denied involvement. Statements made by either side have not yet been verified since phone and internet connections to Tigray are down and access to the area is strictly controlled. Since fighting began on November 4 hundreds have died, more than 41,000 refugees have fled to Sudan, and there has been widespread destruction and uprooting of people from homes. Mr Abiy’s Government said many Tigrayan combatants had responded to a 72-hour ultimatum to lay down arms before a threatened offensive against Mekelle city, with half a million inhabitants. ‘Tragic conflict’ The battle-hardened TPLF, which had ruled the region of more than 5 million people, gave a different version, saying their troops were keeping federal forces at bay and scoring victories. Washington backed African Union (AU) mediation efforts “to end this tragic conflict now”, while Paris and London warned against ethnic discrimination. The UN Security Council had been due to hold informal talks on over Tigray, but that was postponed to give AU envoys time to travel to Ethiopia, diplomats said. Mr Abiy, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for ending a standoff with Eritrea, has said he will not negotiate with the TPLF though he does plan to receive the AU envoys. Since taking office in 2018, the Prime Minister has removed many Tigrayans from Government and security posts and arrested some on rights abuse and corruption charges, even though he was their former military comrade and coalition partner. The conflict threatens to destabilise the vast nation of 115 million people from myriad ethnic groups whose struggles for greater resources and power intensified when Mr Abiy took office. 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src : abc.net.au

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