Amid a Civil War, Chilling Evidence of Hilltop Massacre

Ethiopian army accused of shooting unarmed men
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2021 10:05 AM CDT
Amid a Civil War, Chilling Evidence of Hilltop Massacre
An Orthodox Christian refugee who fled the conflict in the Ethiopia's Tigray region reads prayers with his son in front of a church at the Hamdeyat Transition Center near the Sudan-Ethiopia border, eastern Sudan, Tuesday March 16, 2021.   (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

Horror stories continue to emerge out of Ethiopia stemming from a civil war that erupted in November. Reports of massacres and systemic rape are rampant, and the latest involves the killing of at least 15 unarmed young men on a hilltop. Coverage, some of which is graphic:

  • Last month, clips emerged on social media of soldiers shooting men point blank and throwing their bodies off a cliff, reports the BBC. An investigation by Bellingcat has identified the location in the northern Tigray region.
  • The soldiers appear to be from the Ethiopian army, reports CNN, which did its own analysis. It reports that soldiers can be heard encouraging each other amid the killing and taunting their victims. Some are heard advising others not to waste ammunition, that two bullets should suffice.

  • "We have to get this on video, how these people die," says one voice, per the BBC. "We should not free these people. Not even one of them should be spared," says another.
  • The New York Times, meanwhile, has a lengthy report on hundreds of women in the Tigray region who have been raped and killed. “This is ethnic cleansing,” says one teenager who survived an attack, though her arm had to be amputated. “Soldiers are targeting Tigrayan women to stop them giving birth to more Tigrayans.” Most of the perpetrators appear to be Ethiopian soldiers or their Eritrean allies, though it's possible that anti-government rebels in Tigray—the women's own region—may also be playing a part.
  • Researchers studying the conflict have identified more than 150 massacres in Tigray and 2,000 fatalities in those massacres, reports the Guardian. The conflict began when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched an offensive against the Tigray People's Liberation Front after the latter group attacked an army base. The government has since declared victory, though the violence continues. (Bellingcat in particular has an explainer on the civil war.)
  • The prime minister acknowledged some of the abuses this week, telling parliament, “Anyone who raped our Tigrayan sisters, anybody who is involved in looting, will be held accountable in a court of law,” per the Times. “We sent them to destroy the junta (the TPLF), not our people.”
  • The US joined other G7 nations on Friday in calling for an investigation into the allegations of human rights abuses, per Reuters. Hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes in Tigray.
(Read more Ethiopia stories.)

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