MEKELLE, 31 January 2021 – Ethiopian and Eritrean forces have been accused of waging a “devastating and genocidal war” in Tigray, in Ethiopia’s northern region, according to the region’s ousted leader.
Ethiopia has said the allegations are “unfounded” while Eritrea has maintained that it has never sent troops into Tigray.
“A devastating and genocidal war was waged against the people of Tigray because they firmly fought for their right to self-determination and they held a democratic election,” Debretsion Gebremichael said in a Facebook posting.
For the first time in the audio, the ousted Tigray leader said his forces were fighting against troops from four countries, mentioning that Sudanese and Somali forces have also been involved in the war.
Both Somalia and Sudan have denied involvement in the conflict.
The ousted Tigray leader also alleged that Ethiopian forces benefited from drones from the United Arab Emirates to conduct surveillance of Tigray forces and to attack them.
While Ethiopia declared that its forces had won the war and recaptured the capital of the region, Mekelle, the ousted Tigray leaders said “the invasionand massacre has continued”.
The ousted Tigray leader, who has fled the region, vowed that his Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) will never surrender.
Due to the fact that Ethiopia is still fighting and killing our people, “so does the struggle of the people of Tigray,” the Tigray leader said.
These forces have committed “horrendous crimes” and war crimes and the international community should investigate them, Debretsion Gebremichael said.
The United Nations has said the war is ongoing in several parts of Tigray.
Serious allegations of rape, sexual violence, denial of access to humanitarian assistance and starvation have been made by the United Nations.
The allegations of sexual violence included allegations that men were forced at gunpoint to rape their own relations.
Notes taken during a needs assignment mission by an official of the caretaker government, a copy of which were leaked, said “hundreds of thousands might starve to death”.
People are dying in their sleep, the notes added.
“The atrocities should be investigated and all legal actions should be taken against the invading forces,” the Tigray leader said.
The Ethiopian government sent federal forces into Tigray after accusing forces loyal to Debretsion Gebremichael of attacking military bases, killing soldiers and stealing weapons.
As many as two million people have been displaced as a result of the conflict.