ADDIS ABABA, 12 February 2021 – Scores of women have been raped in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray, federal authorities in Addis Ababa have confirmed.
“We have received the report back from our Taskforce team on the ground in the Tigray region, they have unfortunately established rape has taken place conclusively and without a doubt,” read a tweet Thursday from the country’s women’s minister Filsan Abdullahi.
Her comments on Twitter are the first words of confirmation from anyone inside the government of Prime Minister AbiyAhmed Ali.
Humanitarian aid workers and human rights activists have long made the “rape as a weapon of war” accusations.
Some 108 rape cases were reported, with nearly half of them recorded in the Tigray capital of Mekelle, according to a report in the Ethiopian state-appointed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.
Few humanitarian workers have been able to access Tigray.
Two-fifths of the northern region’s five million inhabitants have been internally displaced or forced to flee into exile in refugee camps in neighboring Sudan.
Some 60,000 Ethiopians from Tigray were hosted in United Nations-run camps in neighboring Sudan.
The Ethiopian government has said it has zero tolerance for rape or sexual violence and reports from Tigray accuse federal soldiers of committing the crimes.
The United Nations had earlier said that some of the sexual abuse involved family members being ordered to abuse each other or face death.