The United States wants Eritrea and Ethiopia to immediately withdraw their troops from the Ethiopian region of Tigray. Minister of Foreign Affairs Blinken said in a statement that he was “seriously concerned” about atrocities and crimes against humanity.
He also calls on the international community, and in particular the African Union, to become more explicitly involved in the situation in Tigray. Among other things, there should be an independent investigation into human rights violations, says Blinken.
Villages wiped out
The minister’s statement comes a day after The New York Times reported on a classified US government report. It states that the Ethiopian authorities, along with militias and Eritrean soldiers, are systematically guilty of ethnic cleansing.
Entire villages would have been wiped out, whose inhabitants have disappeared. The report was prepared earlier this month. In early November, the Ethiopian army invaded Tigray, according to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to end an uprising.
Border conflict with Eritrea
The region is the base of the armed Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which ruled Ethiopia for nearly thirty years. The country fought a bloody border war under TPLF leadership with neighboring Eritrea, which borders on Tigray.
Prime Minister Abiy made peace with Eritrea after coming to power. It earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019. But the TPLF disagreed with the peace, so the tension in the border region never disappeared.
Since the raid on Tigray, it is unclear what exactly is happening in Tigray; the region is virtually inaccessible to aid workers and journalists. As a result, it is also not known to what extent the Ethiopian authorities still have control over the area.
There are reports that Eritrea is taking more and more territory, although that country denies being involved in the conflict at all.
Every now and then a snippet of news comes out. Human rights organization Amnesty International, for example, wrote on Friday, based on interviews with 41 witnesses and survivors, that Eritrean soldiers killed at least hundreds of unarmed civilians in Tigray at the end of November.
Men and boys are said to have been executed on the street and there are numerous reports of rapes. Furthermore, the testimonials confirm statements about arbitrary shooting and looting, the human rights organization said. There are also reports of mass graves.
At the beginning of this month, the UN called the situation “extremely alarming”. According to the Ethiopian Red Cross, the humanitarian crisis in the region is worsening.
More and more people are dependent on emergency aid for food and some 2 million people are said to have been displaced because of the violence.
Many Ethiopians have fled to neighboring Sudan: