ADDIS ABABA, 25 March 2021 – Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) staff say they witnessed Ethiopian soldiers shoot dead four civilians in the country’s northern Tigray region.
The incident took place on a road that connects Mekele, the capital of Tigray, to Adigrat, another regional town.
MSF staff witnessed the soldiers shoot and kill the civilians in a minibus.
“The soldiers then forced the passengers to leave the minibus. The men were separated from the women, who were allowed to walk away. Shortly after, the men were shot,” MSF said in a statement.
Staff of the medical charity equally witnessed “what appeared to be the aftermath of an ambush of an Ethiopian military convoy by another armed group, in which soldiers were injured and killed”.
The military vehicles hit in the apparent ambush “were still on fire”, the MSF statement added, reiterating its call for civilians to be protected.
In an address to parliament last Tuesday, Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed Ali pledged to hold soldiers who committed atrocities in Tigray “accountable”.
Thousands of people have been killed in the armed conflict in Tigray which Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered last November 4.
About three million Tigrayans – half of the inhabitants of the region – have been impacted by the war, which has driven nearly 100,000 people into refugee camps in neighboring Sudan.
Ethiopian federal authorities in Addis Ababa have claimed since late last year that it had restored peace and security in Tigray, although the ousted Tigrayan leaders, who are on the run, have vowed to fight on.