Tigray conflict swells as innocent causalities increase


Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has sent an independent group to investigate the situation that unfolded on Monday night at the town of Mia-Kadra in the western part of Tigray.
In light of the situation, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has order the Ethiopian defense force to a military engagemenet in the Tigray region after the TPLF was accused of attacking a military camp in the region with attempts to loot military asset. The TPLF denies the attack and has accused Abiy of concocting the story to justify deploying the military.
The so called law enforcement operation has lasted for more than ten days resulting to military offence and counter measures in the northern part of the country both in Amhara and Tigray regions.
The federal government has said the National Air Force is attacking major possible targets, however TPLF has been saying that there have been no air strike in the region and later gave a contradicting statement accusing the federal government for air attacks and military operation in the region. On Friday Debretsion G/Michael president of the TPLF, on his statement said that the government had launched air strikes on Mekelle, Adigrat, Alamata, and parts of the western Tigray region and Shiraro.
“The war is not complete, this is just the beginning, more than 10,000 members of the Northern Command and Defense Forces currently are under the control of the Tigray National Regional State,” said Debretsion.
According to the state of emergency fact check, in the late hours of November 13, 2020, TPLF had fired a rocket towards Bahir Dar and Gondar cities. As a result, the airport areas have sustained damages.
Also the Tigray regional government has accused Abiy’s government for cooperating with Eritrea to attack Tigray region and its people, however, the Eritrean government has announced it as a false accusation.
A statement posted on the Facebook page of the Tigray government said it would win the “justified” war, and added that a fighter will not “negotiate with their enemies”.
On Tuesday, TPLF had announced that Debretsion G/Michael had sent a letter to all political & civic stake holders regarding the current affairs. On his statement, Debretsion said problems cannot be solved through military means; also African Union has the responsibility to bring all political and civic stack holders of the country in to an all inclusive and comprehensive dialogue.
On Saturday, the upper house of parliament has decided to establish a new interim administration allowing the intercession of the federal government and abolishing the existing illegal regional government lead by Debretsion. The interim administration will appoint officials, ensure the respect for rule of law, approve the region’s budget and facilitate the process of conducting elections.
With reports of increasing casualties, concern is rising for the protection of civilians against hostilities. Civilians caught in the cross-fire, especially children, women, elders and the disabled, are of paramount importance to protect. Humanitarian partners have asked federal and regional authorities to facilitate humanitarian access to reach people in need in areas under their respective control.
On Monday, November 9, Amhara regional state has announce a death toll of about 500 civilians in Mai-Kadra town in the South West Zone of Ethiopia’s Tigray Region where both Tigray and Amhara natives live.
As Daniel Bekele, head of Ethiopia Human Right Commission informed Capital, the commission has sent a group of investigators to investigate the situation on Mai-kadra. The commission will compose reports and information to ensure accountability by investigating and gathering evidence of human rights violations committed by any party involved in the conflict.
“One of the concerns of the commission is working to protect civilians and non-participants on the war, and the commission is working closely with different stakeholders to insure civilian protection,” he stated.
“In the current context of the ongoing conflict in the Tigray region, it is important to ensure access to humanitarian assistance and basic services, especially for the safety and protection of civilians who are not involved in the conflict,” he added.
“Therefore, the armed forces involved in the conflict have a responsibility to protect civilians,” says the commission.
Furthermore, the commission has said that it is closely following the government’s crackdown on the conflict in various parts of the country and allegations of discrimination in some areas on the basis of ethnicity.
As the regional government states the mass killing was ethnic based where hundreds of Amhara peoples where selected to death. As of Thursday November 12, Amnesty International in its report confirms that scores, and likely hundreds, of people were stabbed or hacked to death in Mai-Kadra.
The organization’s Crisis Evidence Lab has examined and digitally verified gruesome photographs and videos of bodies strewn across the town or being carried away on stretchers. It confirmed the images were recent and using satellite imagery, and geo-located them to Mai-Kadra in western Tigray state.
“We have confirmed the massacre of a very large number of civilians, who appear to have been day laborers who in no way are involved in the ongoing military offensive,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.
“This is a horrific tragedy whose true extent only time will tell as communication in Tigray remains shut down,” he added.
The federal government has accused the TPLF for the massacre in the town for killing civilians; however on Friday TPLF has denied the accusation and the Amnesty report arguing the direct and indirect culprits is the fascist and the terrorist “Abiy Ahmed” who declared war on the people of Tigray.
“The TPLF is violating international child rights provisions and is barring even children from joining the Special Forces,” said the federal government.
Moreover, the federal government is accusing TPLF Criminal gangs for setting up executive networks in Addis Ababa and other parts of the country to instill fear by caring out terrorist attacks.
The Federal police have also announced that they have banned 14 private security agencies from operating illegally. According to the police commission, some private security agencies have recently been set up to carry out attacks on public and government institutions, as well as the recruitment and deployment of security forces, in defiance of their purpose. And the Addis Ababa Police Commission, in collaboration with other security forces, seized 163 firearms, 1194 rounds of ammunition and other assets during a three-day search operation.
On Thursday, November 12, the house of federation has decided to lift up the immunity of 39 members of the house of federation from the 44 members, including Debretsion, president of TPLF. Also the federal police commission has issued an arrest warrant on officials of TPLF. The suspects are said to have been involved in armed robbery, by attacking the national defense and other related crimes. Also seven military officers have been appeared to the court by betraying the nation and attacking the national defense force.
On Friday November 13, the federal government has appointed Mulu Nega as the new administrator of the region, in addition, the chief administrator will recruit and appoint heads to lead executives- an organ of the regional state from political parties legally operating in the region.
TPLF after its announcement of taking control of Tekeze dam on Sunday, on Friday November 13 has claimed that the federal government has bombed Tekeze Dam, however the state of emergency task force has said the information is false and accused them to peddle falsehood for international audience.
The UN and its partner organizations are committed to staying and delivering humanitarian assistance. A casted humanitarian response plan for Tigray region is currently being finalized under the coordination of UNOCHA.
According to UNHCR Sudan, at least 3,400 Ethiopian asylum seekers have crossed the Sudanese border through two border entry points in Gedaref State since the 9th November. Sudanese authorities are reportedly screened the asylum seekers for onward relocation to a reception center in Shagrab camp in Kassala State. 1,700 people have so far been screened and registered. No armed individual will be allowed to cross into Sudan, according to authorities.
On Friday, Prime Minister Abiy has told Members of the Tigray Special Forces to surrender to the Defense Forces within the next three days.
A statement on Saturday also confirmed that in the late hours of Nov. 13, a rocket was fired towards Bahir Dar and Gondar cities. As a result, the airport areas have sustained damages. Details of the incident is currently under investigation.