Witness on Eritrean troops killing and raping in Aksum – “I had to step over dead bodies”

Source: EEPA

An American witness, who was in Aksum during the war, reports that water and electricity went out in Aksum on November 2, prior to the start of hostilities on November 3 and 4. As a result people in Aksum did not see any news.

A few days later people arrived from Humera. They told them that they came because of the war, that their houses had been destroyed, and people had been killed.

The witness states that a few days later shooting started when Eritrean soldiers entered Aksum with tanks.

They came in their thousands and killed whoever stood in their way. There were dead bodies all over the city: “I had to step over dead bodies to get there. The entire city from the bus station to the park was covered in bodies.” Many civilians were killed when St. Michael church was shelled.

The witness states that the Eritrean soldiers said they had been told to kill, to kill all Tigrayan males over the age of four. The soldiers said they were told to kill all males so that they would not come to take revenge in the future.

According to the witness soldiers fired indiscriminately at anyone. They killed people without warning. People were not given any warning. The soldiers just fired on everything.

The witness states that Eritrean troops killed soldiers, priests, farmers, and burned crops. The Eritrean troops forced farmers and priests to slaughter their own animals and they killed the farmers if they refused to do so.

The Eritrean soldiers stole medicine from health facilities and destroyed the infrastructure. They broke glass windows and stole everything they could.

The witness states that she heard of old women and young girls being raped.

According to the witness, people of Aksum sought refuge in the Mariam Zion Church.

The witness states Eritrean soldiers were completely in charge of the situation in Aksum and that ENDF soldiers watched and did nothing to stop the violence and the killing. The ENDF soldiers were fired at if they tried to stop Eritrean soldiers who were looting.


  1. our brothers eritreans killed our children, mothers, aunts and uncles and great grand fathers !! wow suprising . Ahwatina eritrewyiyan are heroes !!

    they killed us because woyane killed them for over 45 years and made them to flee eritrea and live a luxurious life in Europe , US and UK.Excellent story drafted and dessiminated by PJDF and accepted by eritreans undoubtedly as word of Allah.Insha Allah !

  2. I heard the whole interview of the woman. She had some problems with mentioning the exact dates. So it is not so clear whether the water and electricity stopped on November 2 or before or may be after. So Eritrean Hub We follow you and love you, but be careful of such things. This small thinks may open a crack for fault finders to attack you.

  3. The original source used by EEPA is an english translation, by Tghat, of a video interview in Amharic:

    St Michael’s church, which the witness mentions was shelled, is a large new church in the east of Aksum under the famous Abune Penteleon Monastery Church, and is in the other end of town to the Cathedral Complex.

    There is also a more recent two hour long interview, in English, with another american eyewitness, Solomon. It has far more details of the massacre, and the events leading up to it, though it’s shame the interviewer keeps interrupting Solomon as he tries to tell his story and then stops the interview so they can continue it in a later programme:

    Aksum seems to have been shelled by Ethiopian troops before they entered, despite there being no opposition to their entry. The initial shelling was from the west, according to Solomon, and Eritrean troops then looted the town for days, while Ethiopian troops looked on, and killed anyone who tried to stop them.

    A major massacre took place within the town on 27/28 November, days before the famous Hidar Tsion Festival. Solomon suggests the massacre was triggered by a TPLF ambush on Eritrean troops stationed on the hill overlooking Aksum, at a time when Aksum was completely under the control of Eritrean troops. Eritrean reinforcements were then brought in from Adwa. They first shelled the area around St. Michael’s church and then went on a killing spree throughout the town, including going door to door shooting people. For a time no-one was allowed to move or bury the bodies. Later many bodies were taken to Arabtu Ensessa Church, one end of the Cathedral Complex, for burial. Solomon describes how he helped take hundreds of bodies to the church on horse drawn carts.

    Reports of a large massacre in Aksum have been circulating since mid December, much later becoming the “Massacre in the Cathedral Complex” where many were killed trying to prevent the looting of the Ark of the Covenant. It now appears from these two eyewitness accounts that the massacre took place throughout Aksum, and was not concentrated around the Cathedral.

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