Accounts of atrocities in Tigray, Ethiopia continue to emerge

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Accounts of atrocities in Tigray, Ethiopia continue to be reported this week, as communications are slowly restored to the embattled region. The fighting between forces supporting Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and forces supporting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, who long dominated Ethiopia’s government, was declared over months ago by Abiy Ahmed’s administration, but Tigray is still volatile.

Saint Mary of Zion Church in Axum, Ethiopia

The world is clamoring for information about who is responsible for the crimes being reported. Limited access for journalists and humanitarian agencies to places in Tigray contributes to the unclear picture of what is happening there. The Ethiopian foreign ministry acknowledged last week that “rape, plunder, callous & intentional mass killings” could occur in a conflict where “many are illegally armed.”

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed,  who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for making peace with neighboring Eritrea, denies the presence of thousands of soldiers from Eritrea in Tigray.

The AP has reported on increasing witness accounts of atrocities, including a potential massacre of up to 800 civilians in November at the Church of St. Mary of Zion in the ancient holy city of Axum.