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Amnesty says bodies litter Ethiopian town as UN warns of ‘war crimes’

Storyline:National News, World

GOOBJOOG NEWS|TIGRAY, ETHIOPIA:   Hundreds of people have been killed and bodies strewn on the streets of towns in Tigray region  in week-long fighting, Amnesty International has revealed as the UN warns of possible war crimes.

An investigation by the campaign group based on witness accounts and satellite imagery revealed that hundreds of people supposedly non-Tigrayians were killed November 9 and their bodies dumped on the streets of May Cadera town.

“Most of the dead bodies were found in the tow​n centre, near the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, and along a road that exits to the neighbouring Humera town, according to the witnesses and verified images,” Amnesty said.

According to accounts from locals, the bodies appear to have been inflicted by sharp weapons such as knives and machetes. Amnesty said these accounts matched independent autopsies conducted by a pathologist it hired.

“We have confirmed the massacre of a very large number of civilians, who appear to have been day labourers in no way involved in the ongoing military offensive. This is a horrific tragedy whose true extent only time will tell as communication in Tigray remains shut down,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.

The rights group called on the Ethiopian government to lift bans on communication to enable the flow of information amid an ongoing upsurge in the number of displacements. Close to 15,000 people have since crossed to Ethiopia as the federal army battle forces allied to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).


UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet  warned the bloodshed in Tigray region could amount to possible war crimes adding the situation could spiral out of control.

“There is a risk this situation will spiral totally out of control, leading to heavy casualties and destruction, as well as mass displacement within Ethiopia itself and across borders,” a spokesman for Bachelet said.

Amnesty has called for impartial investigations and urged TPLF forces to respect human rights and humanitarian workers.

“TPLF commanders and officials must make clear to their forces and their supporters that deliberate attacks on civilians are absolutely prohibited and constitute war crimes. All parties in the Tigray conflict must ensure full respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law in their operations,” Muchena added.