British pound climbs as government makes U-turn on tax cut plan    Egypt's net foreign assets decline again to reach $925 million in August    Turkey's inflation jumps to 83% highest level in nearly in 24 years    Egypt's FM heads to Congo Today to attend PRECOP27 conference    King Charles III won't attend COP27 in Egypt, following PM Truss advice    Swedish coastguard says: Fourth leak discovered on Nord Stream pipelines    Egyptian gecko invades Israel    Egypt welcomes back Russian flights on 1st October    Egypt launches 200 Years of Continuing Science tourism campaign    Egypt, UAE partner on sustainable waste management in Sharm el-Sheikh ahead of COP27    QNB Group names TikToker Khaby Lame official FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 brand ambassador    Three possible scenarios as Egypt's central bank governor resigns – MP    Adele is living a love story, wants to be a homemaker    In Photos: Egypt swears in 13 new ministers after major Cabinet reshuffle    Egypt's Sisi names 13 ministers in Cabinet reshuffle    Spain: prosecutor seeks 8 years sentence for Shakira over tax evasion    Egypt: Alamein Art Festival kicks off a collection of recycled installations    Egypt's athlete Basma Emad wins bronze in weightlifting in Mediterranean Games    Maha karara joins AAIB as Head of Corporate Communications, Sustainability    Egypt works on charting cooperation strategies with international institutions for 5 years: Al-Mashat    Over 2.4 million newborns examined for hearing impairment: Health Ministry    Netflix releases trailer of Arab adaption of 'Perfect Strangers' film    Balqees to headline concert celebrating launch of streaming giant LIVENow in MENA    Sawsan Badr to be honoured at Aswan Women Film Festival    MP Abdel Hady Al-Qasby calls government to facilitate and support NGOs    Al-Sisi follows up on 'Great Transfiguration Project' in St. Catherine    Cairo, London stress need to strengthen cooperation to face climate change    Foreigners account for 22.6% of Egypt's T-bills issuances in 1H 2021: CBE    Egypt's ambassador to Italy passes away    Egypt confirms readiness to help African countries face terrorism and extremism    An estimated 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021, an increase of 40% compared to 2020: IOM Egypt    Egypt, DRC discuss water cooperation during WYF    Egypt, DR Congo discuss boosting bilateral cooperation during WYF    Cameroonian police probe assault on three Algerian journalists covering AFCON    Pharaohs start AFCON 2021 campaign with fierce clash against Nigeria    Foreign Ministry opens capacity building course for French-speaking African diplomats    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.



War crimes feared in Ethiopia's Tigray conflict
Published in Ahram Online on 13 - 11 - 2020

Fighting between Ethiopian government forces and rebellious northern leaders could spiral out of control and war crimes may have been committed, the United Nations said on Friday, as repercussions spread around the volatile Horn of Africa.
The 10-day conflict in Tigray region has killed hundreds, sent refugees flooding into Sudan, and raised fears it may draw in Eritrea or pressure Ethiopia's commitment to an African force opposing al Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia.
It may also blemish the reputation of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for a 2018 peace pact with Eritrea and had won plaudits for opening Ethiopia's economy and easing a repressive political system.
"There is a risk this situation will spiral totally out of control," U.N. rights chief Michelle Bachelet, saying a massacre of civilians reported by Amnesty International would amount to war crimes if confirmed as committed by a party to the conflict.
Abiy accuses the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which rules the mountainous region of more than five million people, of treason and terrorism.
Federal troops say the TPLF rose against them last week but that they have since survived a siege and recaptured the west of the region. With communications cut and media barred, there has been no independent confirmation of the state of the fighting.
The TPLF says Abiy's government has persecuted Tigrayans and purged them from positions since he took office in April 2018 after a TPLF-led government. It terms the offensive an "invasion".
Federal troops have been carrying out air strikes and there has been fighting on the ground since Wednesday of last week.
Refugees described bombing by government jets, shooting on the streets, killings with machetes and civilian deaths.
"The bombing has demolished buildings and killed people, and I escaped, part running on foot and part in a car," said Hayali Kassi, 33, a driver from Tigray who reached the Sudanese border town of Al-Fashqa, now hosting more than 7,000 refugees.
Abiy, who comes from Ethiopia's largest ethnic group the Oromo, said parliament named former Addis Ababa university academic and deputy minister for science and higher education Mulu Nega, 52, as the new leader of Tigray.
There was no immediate response to Mulu's appointment from current Tigray leader Debretsion Gebremichael, who won a local election in September despite central government orders to cancel it. A dissertation by Mulu, on the website of Twente University in the Netherlands where he obtained a doctorate, states his birthplace as Tigray.
THOUSANDS FLEE TIGRAY FIGHTING
News also came on Friday that the African Union (AU) had dismissed its security head, an Ethiopian national, after Abiy's government accused him of disloyalty.
The bloc's chair Moussa Faki Mahamat ordered the removal of Gebreegziabher Mebratu Melese in a Nov. 11 memo seen by Reuters after Ethiopia's defence ministry wrote with concerns.
Horn of Africa expert Rashid Abdi said Gebreegziabher was Tigrayan and his departure from the AU post was part of the Abiy government's efforts to sideline prominent Tigrayans. "It also plays into the notion that this is essentially an ethnic war masked as a centre-periphery power struggle," he said.
However, Abiy this week exhorted Ethiopians to ensure Tigrayans are not targeted. "We all must be our brother's keeper by protecting Tigrayans," he said.
His opening of political space since taking office in 2018 uncorked ethnic frictions in Africa's second most populous nation of 115 million people.
An internal U.N. security report said Ethiopian police visited an office of the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) in Amhara region to request a list of Tigrayan staff.
The local police chief told them of "the order of identifying ethnic Tigrayans from all government agencies and NGOs", it said. Amhara borders Tigray and its rulers back Abiy.
The United Nations told the police they do not identify staff by ethnicity, according to the report. There was no immediate comment from Amhara police or government.
Rights group Amnesty International has said scores and possibly hundreds of civilians were stabbed and hacked to death in the region on Nov. 9, citing witnesses who blamed the TPLF.
Debretsion denied that to Reuters.
More than 14,500 Ethiopian refugees - half of them children - have gone to Sudan since fighting started and aid agencies say the situation in Tigray is becoming dire. There are also concerns about a mass displacement of thousands of Eritrean refugees at a camp in Ethiopia.
In Sudan, a Reuters witness said the thousands in al-Fashqa, which lies along the banks of the Tezeke river, are mostly women and children, forced to quarrel over scarce quantities of food and water provided by the Sudanese army.
Ethiopia's national army is one of Africa's largest. But its best fighters are from Tigray and much of its hardware is also there, under the Northern Command.
Nearly 4,400 Ethiopian troops serve in the AU's Somalia peacekeeping force.
Redwan Hussein, spokesman of a new State of Emergency Task Force for Tigray, told Reuters the offensive would not lead Ethiopia to withdraw peacekeepers abroad. "No, we are even sending troops to Darfur" in Sudan, he said.


Clic here to read the story from its source.