US secretary of state Antony Blinken on Saturday called for the immediate withdrawal’ of Eritrean and Amraha forces from Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region. At a state presser, Blinken said that the US was ‘gravely concerned’ about reports of atrocities, human rights violations, and the worsening crisis in the northern Tigray. Appealing to the African Union and other international partners for intervention, Blinken denounced neighbouring Eritrea and Ethiopia, as he asserted that those responsible for the violence “must be held accountable.”
“We strongly condemn the killings, forced removals and displacements, sexual assaults, and other extremely serious human rights violations and abuses by several parties that multiple organizations have reported in Tigray,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. “The immediate withdrawal of Eritrean forces and Amhara regional forces from Tigray are essential first steps,” he added. Blinker’s remarks come just a day after Amnesty International released a report alleging that the Eritrean troops eradicated hundreds of unarmed civilians in mass killing in the northern city of Axum. The agency interviewed at least 41 survivors and witnesses to mass killings in November.
Troops carried out extrajudicial executions, indiscriminate shelling, and widespread looting, the report alleged. It added, Eritrean troops fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray state systematically conducted house-to-house raids and carried out a massacre as evidence of new mass burials near two of the city’s churches emerged on the Satellite imagery analysis by the organization’s Crisis Evidence Lab.
“The immediate withdrawal of Eritrean forces and Amhara regional forces from Tigray are essential first steps. They should be accompanied by unilateral declarations of cessation of hostilities by all parties to the conflict and a commitment to permit unhindered delivery of assistance to those in Tigray. The United States is committed to working with the international community to achieve these goals. To that end, USAID will deploy a Disaster Assistance Response Team to Ethiopia to continue delivering life-saving assistance,” a statement on situation in Tigray by the US State Department read.
[Eritrean forces target. Credit: Amnesty report]
“This atrocity ranks among the worst documented so far in this conflict. Besides the soaring death toll, Axum’s residents were plunged into days of collective trauma amid violence, mourning, and mass burials,” Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa said in the report.
The United States is gravely concerned by reports of atrocities in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. We strongly condemn the killings, forced removals, sexual violence, and other violations of human rights. The international community must work together to prevent further atrocities.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) February 28, 2021
200,000 people displaced
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s federal army had launched a military offensive that ousted the former local ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), from the regional capital Mekelle in November, last year. n estimated 2.6 million people in Tigray and the adjacent regions of Amhara, Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, and SNNPR were left ravaged due to the armed conflict and needed humanitarian assistance, the Ethiopian Red Cross Society said in a press release.
In January 2021 alone, close to 200,000 people have been internally displaced in Ethiopia, and an estimated 60,000 fled into Sudan, Ethiopia Red Cross report revealed. Earlier, the President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Francesco Rocca, conducted a 5-day visit to the former capital of Tigray Mekele which Ethiopia has seized and expressed shock. “I am very concerned about the conditions that I saw during my visit,” he said in an official made following his visit. “People were internally displaced by the fighting, especially children, their mothers, and the elderly,” he said.
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Publish date : 2021-02-28 12:31:00