Eritreans Commit Atrocities In Tigray Region

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Eritreans Commit Atrocities In Tigray Region
by PH

Despite claims by both Ethiopia and Eritrea that they were leaving, Eritrean soldiers are in fact more firmly entrenched than ever in neighbouring Tigray, where they are brutally gang-raping women, killing civilians, looting hospitals and blocking food and medical aid, The Associated Press has found.

Multiple witnesses, survivors of rape, officials and aid workers say Eritrean soldiers have been spotted far from the border in Ethiopia, deep in eastern and even southern Tigray, sometimes clad in faded Ethiopian army fatigues.

Rather than leaving, witnesses say, the Eritrean soldiers now control key roads and access to some communities.

At a hospital in Mekele, capital of Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, children are being treated for horrific injuries of war.

12-year-old Haftom Gebru’s hand was too mangled during fighting in his village to be saved.

15-year-old Akhbaret Tadesa has deep trauma after a shell detonated near her house.

It has left her trembling all the time, unable to speak or eat on her own.

Her sister and father care for her around the clock, feeding her, talking to her, holding and squeezing her shaking fingers.

These are the scars of the fighting between Ethiopian armed forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

Since the violence erupted last November, there has been an ever-growing number of war-wounded in Tigray, including women and children.

But many at the hospital say that their wounds were caused not by Ethiopian or Tigray fighters – but by fighters from Ethiopia’s one time foe across the border: Eritrea.

Teklemariam Gebremichael is a farmer and says that Eritrean soldiers targeted him for this very reason.

He recounts that he and his neighbours were told that they were no longer allowed to farm.

When Eritrean soldiers came upon him tending to his cattle and harvesting crops, they shot both him and his cows, killing all his livestock.

He survived, but with food now in short supply, his wound is slow to heal.

He appeals for help from the international community.

“They should take immediate action to save the people of Tigray and stand by Tigray, because they are here to ethnically cleanse us,” he says.

Health workers say that they have seen a spike in sexual violence too.

Sister Mulu Mesfin is a nurse at the Ayder Referral Hospital in Mekele.

She has treated 400 rape victims and says that the wards are still full to overflowing.

Some of the women who sought treatment said they had been held in camps and gang-raped by dozens of soldiers for weeks.

Some were so badly injured that they were unable to walk, with complications like fistulas and prolapses.

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