Women from the town of Nifas Mewcha in Amhara told Amnesty that fighters associated with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which has been fighting the central government of Ethiopia in a year-long war in the north of the country, they committed widespread rapes and sexual violence in mid-August.
CNN has not interviewed the women and cannot independently verify the claims.
“The testimonies we hear from survivors describe despicable acts by TPLF fighters that amount to war crimes and potentially crimes against humanity. They defy morality or any iota of humanity,” said Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International.
According to Amnesty interviews, a woman, a 30-year-old food vendor from the city, claimed that TPLF fighters raped her in front of her children, slapped her and kicked her before taking food from her home.
“Three of them raped me while my children were crying,” he told Amnesty International. They slapped me [and] they kicked me, “he said.” They were cocking their guns like they were going to shoot me. “
TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda on Wednesday denied the allegations and called for an independent investigation. Getachew told CNN by phone that while the TPLF took the allegations “very seriously,” it believed they were “basically unfounded, because our forces do not indulge in the very practices of our enemy forces.”
In addition to the attacks, Amnesty reported that the women were denigrated with ethnic insults such as ‘donkey Amhara’ and ‘greedy Amhara’ and were unable to seek medical assistance after their attacks because the non-governmental organization providing care has left the region due to concerns. of security.
In a statement last week, UN Secretary General António Guterres called for unrestricted humanitarian access to Tigray, Amhara and Afar. The UN also said that no aid convoy with supplies had been able to enter Tigray since mid-October.
In August, another Amnesty International report detailed widespread rape and sexual violence perpetrated by troops and militias aligned with the Ethiopian government, including the Amhara Regional Police Special Force and Fano, an Amhara militia. To carry out the report, Amnesty interviewed medical professionals and 63 survivors of sexual violence between March and June 2021.
CNN has not previously reported allegations of sexual violence by TPLF fighters during the current conflict.