ADDIS ABABA, 23 March 2021 – Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali has told MPs that soldiers found guilty of atrocity crimes in the northern Tigray region will be held “accountable”.
“Any soldier responsible for raping our women and looting communities in the region will be held accountable,” the prime minister told parliament on Tuesday.
The tweet from the prime minister’s office recalled that the mission of Ethiopian federal forces deployed to Tigray was to protect civilians, not target and kill them.
Thousands of people have been killed in the conflict in Tigray which erupted in early November 2020.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered federal forces into Tigray on 4 November 2020 after accusing fighters of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) of killing 50 soldiers during raids on military bases during which they allegedly also looted weapons.
Last week, the United Nations Human Rights Council agreed to a request by the Ethiopian government to organize a joint investigation into alleged human rights violations, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in Tigray.
The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has described what is unfolding in Tigray as ethnic cleansing.
On Monday, the U.S. fielded a mission to Ethiopia, headed to Tigray, in furtherance of international efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to over three million people internally displaced by the conflict.
Nearly 100,000 people have fled Tigray into refugee camps in neighboring Sudan.