Armed forces from Ethiopia’s Amhara region have been accused by two human rights organisations of undertaking an ethnic cleansing campaign against Tigrayans.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Amhara officials as well as regional special forces and militias fighting in western Tigray of war crimes and crimes against humanity in a joint report.
They also charged Ethiopia’s military with being complicit in the crimes.
Over the course of a year, human rights organisations interviewed over 400 people and used satellite images to gather evidence from a region that has been difficult to reach for journalists, relief agencies, and others.
Hundreds of Tigrayans are still being held illegally, according to the groups, who have demanded their immediate release.
The Amhara regional government declared the charges in the study inaccurate in a letter to the organisations.
Fisseha Tekle, Amnesty International’s Regional Researcher for Horn of Africa, told newsmen about what he described as ‘shocking findings’.
“This campaign of ethnic cleansing was conducted through a series of human rights abuses including mass detention and torture, sexual violence, extrajudicial killings, denial of humanitarian aid and forced expulsion of Tigrayans,” he said.
The crisis in Tigray has raged for more than a year, and rights groups claim that millions of people have been forced to escape.
According to the United Nations, the war has put hundreds of thousands of people on the verge of starvation.
For the first time in months, several lorries of food arrived in Tigray‘s capital last week. The aid is being delivered after Ethiopia’s government proclaimed a humanitarian cease-fire.
Amnesty International, on the other hand, claims that the western Tigray region is still receiving inadequate assistance.
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