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Tigray forces kill 125 civilians in northern Ethiopia

  • Published at 12:37 pm September 8th, 2021
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Tigray Region Collected

War broke out 10 months ago between Ethiopia's federal troops and forces loyal to the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), leaving thousands dead

Rebels from Ethiopia's war-hit Tigray killed at least 125 residents of a village in the neighbouring Amhara region earlier this month before being driven out by pro-government forces, doctors said yesterday. 

"There were 125 dead in Chenna village... I saw the mass grave myself," Mulugeta Melesa, head of the hospital in nearby Dabat town, told AFP, adding that residents were "still searching for dead bodies around the area and counting is still going on".

Northern Ethiopia has been wracked by conflict since November 2020 when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into Tigray to topple the regional ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a move he said came in response to TPLF attacks on army camps.

Though the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner promised a swift victory, fighting has dragged on, with myriad reports of massacres and other rights abuses.

In June, in a stunning turnaround in the conflict,the TPLF retook Tigray's capital Mekele and federal forces largely withdrew.

Since then the TPLF has launched offensives into neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions, displacing hundreds of thousands of people and triggering allegations of summary executions and indiscriminate shelling. 

The TPLF has denied those charges, insisting it is merely trying to break what it describes as a humanitarian blockade on Tigray and prevent pro-government forces from regrouping.

TPLF officials could not immediately be reached for comment yesterday. 

Also Read - 400,000 people facing famine in war-torn Tigray of Ethiopia

Chenna residents reported that the TPLF controlled the village in late August before fighting against pro-government troops broke out in early September, Sewunet Wubalem, administrator of Dabat district, told AFP Wednesday.

The rebels then shot dead civilians over multiple days in early September before retreating, he said.

Chenna is located roughly 25 kilometres (15 miles) northwest of Dabat.

At least some of the wounded were taken to the university hospital in the city of Gondar.

"The dead bodies are not coming here but there are some wounded civilians here," said Ashenafi Tazebew, the Gondar hospital's vice president. 

"We have received close to 35, 36 civilians but I am not sure they are all from the Chenna massacre. Most of them have gun wounds," he said.

"Some of them, their families are already dead and they are asking to go to the funerals" even though they need treatment, he added.

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