“One million people are missing” “Eritreans committed war crimes” – Interim administration of Tigray
“One million people are missing” – interim administration of Tigray
Various human rights organizations are saying that, due to the war between Ethiopian federal government and TPLF led Tigray regional government, a lot of persecution, displacement and humanitarian crisis as well as human rights abuses have occurred.
BBC has interviewed Gebremeskel Kassa, head of office of interim administration of Tigray, regarding alleged human rights abuses, humanitarian crisis, intrusion of foreign forces and security problems.
Regarding alleged sexual abuses
“Huge danger has occurred on Tigray as the result of the operation that was undertaken in the name of law enforcement; all kinds of crimes against humanity have taken place.”
“Regarding the sexual abuse related crime that was committed on our sisters, since it has also been registered in hospitals, it can’t be denied. So we are working in collaboration with the command post and defense (forces) to bring perpetrators to justice.”
Claims numerical figures on the quantity of abuse is still being compiled. He said he would use “many” to describe magnitude of the abuse.
A medical doctor and one advocate of women’s rights have claimed that in hospitals found in different parts of Mekelle, around 200 girls under the age of 18 have faced sexual abuse (rape).
Ethiopian human rights commission had reported that all over Tigray, a total of 108 women have faced sexual abuse.
Gebremeskel has stated that PM Abiy and President Sahle Work Zewde were made aware of the problems of the region, including sexual abuses and that they are in the process of bringing perpetrators to justice. He also claims, since there are armed forces that came from other areas as well as ex-convicts that have gotten out of prison, determining who committed the crime requires further investigation.
Regarding the territorial boundary of Tigray region
“It is impossible to take away even a centimeter width of territory from what was administered by TPLF led Tigray regional state and administer it. We will not see those forces who are occupying the territories any different from bandits.”
Gebremeskel claims the interim administration had tried to set up administrative apparatus on western, north western and southern zones but was prevented by Amhara special forces and militia.
“It is being led in an organized manner by Amhara regional government and thus we are not able know the whereabouts of million people.”
“The region will be accountable; we are receiving reports via phone that lots of crimes are being committed. We will put the force that’s administering Amhara region on trial. What we want is not only for them to leave our territory, but for Amhara leadership that are responsible for these (crimes) to face justice.”
He said they have received information from residents as well as those displaced from the areas that Tigrayans living in areas annexed by Amhara forces have faced forced displacement, eviction, beating, murder and robbery. Gebremeskel also claims that they are working with the federal government to make these forces evacuate the region.
Though he claims that the federal government and ENDF have told them (the interim admin) that Amhara regional forces will be made to leave the region, he insisted that he doesn’t know when exactly that will happen.
Regarding entry of the Eritrean army into Tigray
“It’s clear because the people of Tigray have seen it with their own eyes. Big crimes were committed. The Eritrean army has trespassed the boundary and entered into Tigray. We have also seen it when we were passing by” he said and demanded that they should leave.
“These forces (of Amhara and Eritrea) have entered into Tigray and have committed crimes.”
Gebremeskel said inside Tigray region, there are 299,000 (internally displaced) people which the interim government is aware of. However, he indicated that since there are others who have not been registered and have taken shelter in their relatives’ houses, it is difficult to determine the actual figure.
“They don’t have shelter. Some stay in schools, others with their relatives and still others spend the nights on streets. And since the aid (distribution) is facing problems due to security issues, there are plenty of instances where we face problems of properly distributing it.”
He said vehicles transporting aid are being shot at, but regarding who is doing the shooting, he insisted that it concerned the command post.
Who is responsible for the killings that are taking place in different areas?
Ato Gebremeskel said it is the command post that has to take responsibility for the killings.
“The region is under the command post. It is entrusted with ensuring the welfare of cities and their residents” he said and insisted that investigation is being carried out to determine who is killing the youth. He also reiterated his belief that concerned bodies of the federal and regional administration will take action.
The arrest of journalists and their assistants
Gebremeskel Kassa insisted that the arrest of the professionals was not carried out with the blessings of the interim administration.
“Those the government wants (to arrest) have been explicitly stated/identified. The stance of the interim administration is that, besides those identified by the federal government, no one should be arrested.” He also said the arrest of the journalists was wrong.
“It is wrong. It violates the stance of the interim administration and the federal government. We also have information that there are forces who are doing the arrests by entering in (our) midst.
Moreover Gebremeskel claimed the interim administration had taken a stance that the journalists should be immediately released.
Source: BBC Tigrinya
I have been sent this document which lays out the strategy the Ethiopian government is following in response to the increasing international pressure from the international community.
It follows the recent revelations by Amnesty International, CNN and others concerning atrocities committed by Ethiopian troops and particularly by their Eritrean allies.
I have been assured that the document, drawn up by the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry is authentic.
It can be found here: Briefing_note_on_the_latest_in_Tigray_Region_4.
Source: Eritrea Hub