Amnesty International accuses Tigray rebel fighters of gang-raping women in Ethiopia

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.”

A view of the city of Gondar in the Amhara region of Ethiopia.
In reaction to the Amnesty report, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said in a post on Twitter: “The international community is beginning to wake up to the atrocities of the TPLF. Looting of hospitals and egregious atrocities throughout the Amhara region.”
Amhara forces aligned with the Ethiopian army entered Tigray last November to support government soldiers when the conflict broke out. Since recapturing the capital of Tigray, Mekelle and reject a government ceasefire in June, the Tigrayan forces moved to Amhara.

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.

While CNN cannot independently confirm humanitarian access to this city, blocking aid to parts of Ethiopia has been a common feature of the conflict. In May, the UN confirmed that military forces were preventing access to parts of Tigray, following a CNN investigation that revealed Eritrean troops were coordinating with Ethiopian forces to cut off critical aid routes.

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.

The Amnesty report underlines that all parties to the year-long war between the central government and Tigray’s former ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), have been accused of carrying out human rights abuses.
Sexual violence against women and girls in Ethiopia's Tigray region amounts to war crimes, says Amnesty
TO CNN investigation in March they revealed evidence of women gang-raped, drugged and taken hostage in Tigray, and several doctors alleged that the rapes were carried out by Ethiopian government soldiers and Eritrean allied forces.
A month later, the United Nations aid chief Mark Lowcock He said that “there is no doubt that sexual violence is being used as a weapon of war” in Tigray, with accusations made against all parties to the conflict.

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.

Abiy has said that his government take responsibility any soldier found responsible for a violation.

CNN has not previously reported allegations of sexual violence by TPLF fighters during the current conflict.



Reference-www.cnn.com

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