Fri, 22 Oct 2021

1,900 civilians identified as killed in Ethiopian fighting

Robert Besser
07 Apr 2021, 14:33 GMT+10

GHENT, Belgium: European researchers have compiled a list of 1,900 Ethiopians killed in the Tigray region by soldiers, paramilitaries and insurgents in Tigray, having been identified by researchers studying the conflict which began in November 2020.

The identification of the dead has been researched by a team at the University of Ghent in Belgium. The group has been in touch with families and friends. At the same time, they crosschecked official documents, and government and NGO reports, as well as media reporting.

In marked contrast to the findings, Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed has said reports of mass deaths have been exaggerated.

Abiy ordered a military offensive in November, 2020 in Tigray to expel the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), then in power in the province. The offensive began with an attack on a federal army base.

While Ethiopian leaders called the offensive a success, mass killings of civilians often occurred.

The researchers have documented some 150 massacres. These include the killing of some 250 civilians during a three days period in Humera, a developed town in the west of Tigray.

Reports of the killing of civilians include the deaths of 13 people one week ago, as soldiers searched for insurgents in Grizana.

Those killed included three men in their 50s, several women, a 15-year-old and a two-year-old.

Prof. Jan Nyssen, who has lived in Tigray for decades, said, "These individuals should not be forgotten and these war crimes should be investigated The list is to show the magnitude of what is happening. We know there are many more but we know the name and the circumstances of these 1,900," he added, as reported in The Guardian.

Researchers found that over 90 percent of the victims were males.

Blame for the killings of civilians has been spread among Ethiopian soldiers, Eritrean troops, and irregular paramilitaries from the neighboring province of Amhara.

"A lot is still unknown. There are many incidents where we can't conclude which side is responsible for the moment," noted Tim Vanden Bempt, according to The Guardian.

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