An Associated Press report sheds light on an “ethnic genocide” being committed in the Tigray region, as it collects accounts from witnesses of “horrific” massacres that caused “rivers of blood, rape, and the occupation of homes.”
The nurse, Musa Omar, narrated that the central authorities of the Amhara region, which took control of the village of Humira, left 10 people out of only 400 who were working in the village hospital, after some of them were killed and others fled.
Witnesses say to “The Associated Press”, that the Tigrayan region was divided between the Amhara ethnicities that took the west, and the Eritrean forces that took the east of the region.
Eritrean forces entered the Tigray region to support the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to suppress the opposition Tigrayan Liberation Front movement, resulting in heavy human losses and the displacement of hundreds to Sudan.
For months, the Tigrayans were largely cut off from the world, amid constant power and telecommunications cuts. Cell phones are often seized by security forces, leaving little evidence to support claims of thousands of deaths.
Last month, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken confirmed that “ethnic cleansing” had taken place in western Tigray, and this is the first time that a senior official in the international community describes the situation frankly.
The term “ethnic cleansing” means forcing residents to leave a place through expulsions or acts of violence, and most of the time this includes killing a large number of residents and committing rape.
Refugees told the “Associated Press”, that the Amhara authorities and allied forces in western Tigray have taken over entire communities and ordered Tigrayans to leave or arrest them.
A refugee from Humira village, named Goitum Hagos, said he saw thousands of Tigrayans loaded onto trucks, and it was not yet known what their fate was.
Another refugee, Samarwit Wildegirima, who arrived in the Sudanese village of Hamdait, fleeing the crime in Tigray, said he saw about seven bodies dumped in the river.
“When I saw the bodies, I was terrified,” Weldigirima told the Associated Press, as she palms her hand. “I felt as if I was already dead.”
The agency noted that those who crossed the river were surprised that the Amhara elements were responsible for these crimes in western Tigray, according to the refugee, Alim Mbarhatu, 30.
Mabrahto said that her home in Tigray had been occupied by Amhara militia members, and when she asked them to take her clothes before leaving, they had burned her, and she was told to leave.
“Their goal is not to leave any Tigrayans, I hope there will be Tigrayans until my children return to their homes,” added the refugee, showing signs of exhaustion.
Ethiopia consists of ten administrative regions divided along ethnic lines, each with broad powers. Conflicts revolve between a number of these regions, some of them due to disputes over border regions, and others for political reasons, which sometimes develop into bloody acts of violence.
Last November, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, sent the federal army to Tigray to oust the region’s leaders who challenged his authority. Since then, fighting continues in the Northern Territory, which resulted in the aforementioned massacres.