Three reports on the Tigray war: Appalling situation, spiraling out of control

Three reports below: AP, Reuters and CNN

Source: Associated Press

UN: Ethiopia’s conflict has ‘appalling impact on civilians’

Tigrayans who fled the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, start wood fires to prepare dinner, in front of their temporary shelters at Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Ethiopia’s situation is “spiraling out of control with appalling impact on civilians” and urgently needs outside monitoring, the United Nations human rights chief warned Wednesday, but Ethiopia is rejecting calls for independent investigations into the deadly fighting in its Tigray region, saying it “doesn’t need a baby-sitter.”

The government’s declaration came amid international calls for more transparency into the month-long fighting between Ethiopian forces and those of the fugitive Tigray regional government that is thought to have killed thousands, including civilians. At least one large-scale massacre has been documented by human rights groups, and others are feared.

Senior government official Redwan Hussein told reporters on Tuesday evening that Ethiopia will invite others for assistance only if it feels that “it failed to investigate.” To assume the government can’t carry out such probes “is belittling the government,” he said.

Frustration is growing as the northern Tigray region remains largely cut off from the outside world, with food and medicines desperately needed by the population of 6 million — some 1 million of them now thought to be displaced.

The lack of transparency, with most communications and transport links severed, has complicated efforts to verify the warring side’s claims.

It also hurts efforts to understand the extent of atrocities that have been committed since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Nov. 4 announced that fighting had begun with the TPLF, which dominated Ethiopia’s government and military for nearly three decades before he came to power and sidelined it.

Each government now regards the other as illegal, as the TPLF objects to the postponement of national elections until next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and sees Abiy’s mandate as expired.

U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said the situation is “exceedingly worrying and volatile” with fighting reported to continue in areas surrounding the Tigray capital, Mekele, and the towns of Sheraro and Axum, “in spite of government claims to the contrary.”

“We have corroborated information of gross human rights violations and abuses including indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian objects, looting, abductions and sexual violence against women and girls,” Bachelet told reporters. “There are reports of forced recruitment of Tigrayan youth to fight against their own communities.”

However, she said, with communications limited, “we have been unable to access the worst affected areas.”

Ethiopia’s government is pushing back against what it calls outside “interference,” from efforts at dialogue to delivering aid, drawing on its history as the rare African country never colonized, a source of deep national pride.

The government wants to manage aid delivery, and on Tuesday it said its forces had shot at and detained U.N. staffers who allegedly broke through checkpoints while trying to reach areas where “they were not supposed to go.”

The shooting incident “is really costly” because it further delays humanitarian operations for people in Tigray who have been waiting five weeks for aid, U.N. humanitarian spokesman Saviano Abreu told The Associated Press.

He said the six-member U.N. team, which was detained in Humera and released two days later, was the first sent into Tigray and was carrying out security assessments along roads that had been previously agreed upon with Ethiopia’s government. Such assessments are crucial before aid can be moved in.

“Now we have to work out additional operational details with the government,” especially on security, Abreu said, repeating the U.N.’s call for unfettered, unconditional access.

The shooting occurred a week after the U.N. and the government signed a deal to allow humanitarian access. The deal, crucially, allows aid only in areas under federal government control.

The need for aid is critical. Mekele, a city of a half-million people, is “basically today without medical care,” the director-general of the International Committee for the Red Cross, Robert Mardini, told reporters on Tuesday. The city’s Ayder Referral Hospital has run out of supplies, including fuel to power generators.

“Doctors and nurses have been forced to make horrible life and death decisions,” Mardini said. “They suspended intensive care services and are really struggling to take care like delivering babies or providing dialysis treatment.”

A joint ICRC-Ethiopian Red Cross convoy with supplies for hundreds of wounded people is ready to go to Mekele, pending approval, he said. It would be the first international convoy to reach the city since the fighting began.

While the risk of insecurity remains in the Tigray capital, there is no active fighting, Mardini said.

Overall, he said, “People in Tigray have been cut off from services for nearly a month. They have had no phone, no Internet, no electricity and no fuel. Cash is running out. This of course adds to the tension.”

Source: Reuters

Ethiopia volatile with fighting, ethnic profiling of Tigrayans – U.N. rights boss

GENEVA (Reuters) – The situation in Ethiopia is “worrying and volatile” as fighting in the Tigray region continues amid reports of ethnic profiling of Tigrayans including in Addis Ababa, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Wednesday.

“We have reports that particularly areas surrounding towns like Mekelle, Sherero, Axum, Abiy Addi, and the borders between the Amhara and Tigray regions, fighting continues between federal forces and the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front), and affiliated militias on both sides,” Bachelet told a news conference in Geneva.

“There is an urgent need for independent monitoring of the human rights situation in the Tigray region, all necessary measures to protect civilians, and accountability for violations.”

Reuters has been unable to verify claims by either side in the conflict since phone and internet connections to the Tigray region are down and access to the area is strictly controlled.

Source: CNN

CNN uncovers reality for refugees on the Ethiopia-Sudan border

CNN hears testimony from refugees at the Sudan-Ethiopia border, all of whom say they were targeted because of their Tigray ethnicity. CNN also heard from a member of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front that the majority of the forces operating in Ethiopia’s Tigray region are from Eritrea, suggesting that one of the international community’s biggest fears – regional contagion – is already happening. CNN’s Nima Elbagir reports.


    1. I am also puzzled by the concerted effort of these western media together with the “human right” and “aid” entities to save and possibly exfiltrate the TPLF thugs. Why? For the love of God, can they tell us why? What’s in it for them? It is difficult to imagine they do this out of sheer humanity. Where were they when these scumbags gunned down peaceful protesters in 1993, 2001, 2005, 2015, 2016, 2017? Did they show their outrage when they imprisoned, tortured and maimed tens of thousands of people? Haven’t they heard that these criminals orchestrated genocides and mass killings on Amharas, Anuaks and Somalis to name a few? 95% of Ethiopians want these scum of the earth to either be liquidated or face justice. We want TPLF thrown into history’s dustbin. As far as we Ethiopians are concerned, anything short of TOTAL LIQUIDATION is not acceptable, is it clear?

      1. No. All ethiopians don’t agree with you. Amharas did what is being accused of tigre for over hundred year. No need to go into that now, but the point is we – the subjugated – never took mass retribution on all Amhra. You see right now amharas prospering in the centers like jigjiga. Tigre administration committed many crimes. On the other hand they brougth lots and lots of progress – like the wonderful introduction of ones right to decide for ones self ( the right to self determination ) which this PM is evidently trying to revers !
        What is gone is by gone. We , ethiopians , have a big heart and forgive always . As we did for the amharas we don’t have grudge for all tigreans too ! The few who commited crimes among them will be brought to justice in due time. Bombarding ethiopians by ethiopian jets is the highest treason of all . This should stop and this PM should forget his personal grudge and accept the dialog for the sake of ethiopian unity !

        1. You are fooling yourself. The TPLF brought nothing good to the rest of Ethiopia. They enriched themselves and tried to destroy Ethiopia, made Ethiopia a landlocked country.

        2. Yeah right, you are a Somali as much as I am a Mongolian dear digital Woyane. We know you very well now, and we know your game of deception. Pretending to be Oromos, Amharas or Somalis to create animosity and chaos amongst Ethiopians might have worked for you in the past, but now you sound rather pathetic . I know that you lost it all and you are on the run. But take a moment to catch your breath and reflect on who you are and what should be your rightful place in this great nation called Ethiopia. Here is a French adage you could reflect upon: don’t try to fart higher than your ass.

          As for me, I am not asking for the total annihilation of TPLF out of retribution. I consider that TPLF is a cancerous tumor that tried to kill our country, and as such should be dealt with accordingly. For a cancer to be cured, every malignant cell has to be destroyed. When it comes to TPLF, a similar treatment should be applied to the organization and its leadership. And yes, at least 95% of Ethiopians agree with me.

          1. But i am really a pure somali. Or is that you can’t beleive an ethiopian-somali standing for his right exists ? Well, we do exist as the sun exist!

  1. Sorru. Above reply to Bekele is unreadable. Repitition is here.

    But i am really a pure somali. Or is that you can’t beleive an ethiopian-somali standing for his right exists ? Well, we do exist as the sun exist!

  2. Reply to ewold will be unreadable in this setup.
    So I write it here.

    I am not fooling my self. #tplf gave me tbe right to be an equal ethiopian – which I didn’t have for over two centuries. Yes, the self-administration they gave me were never any where near a perfect one. I had a feeling that ascendancy of #abiy will give me a chance to mitigate those short-comings. But alas! Now I see clearly that he is moving earth and sky to return me to my old days of carrying the yoke of colonalism.

    I am #somali – ethiopian willing and proud to be part of #federal-ethiopia. No thing else works for me.

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