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Ethiopia: MSF team observes executions in Tigray

A bloody conflict has been raging around the breakaway Ethiopian region of Tigray for months. Tens of thousands of people have fled the massive violence. Several aid organizations have documented looting, massacres and rape. According to their own information, a team from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has now witnessed several executions.

The group observed how Ethiopian soldiers shot at least four civilians. As MSF announced on Wednesday, the incident occurred in northern Ethiopia, on the road from Mekele to Adigrat. A driver of the organization was threatened with death.

The MSF team apparently got into a situation in which Ethiopian soldiers were ambushed. The soldiers were injured and killed in a firefight, said Karline Kleijer, head of the MSF emergency aid programs.

According to Kleijers, Ethiopian soldiers stopped an MSF vehicle and two minibuses driving behind it. The soldiers forced the occupants of the minibuses to leave the vehicles, the men were separated from the women and shot.

Death of MSF drivers

The Doctors Without Borders team was allowed to continue after this incident, but was later stopped again by soldiers. “They pulled the MSF driver out of the vehicle, hit him with a rifle and threatened him with death,” explained Kleijer. Finally, the driver got back into the vehicle and the team was allowed to continue the journey.

At the beginning of November, Ethiopian troops began an offensive against the People’s Liberation Front TPLF, which ruled Tigray. Around 60,000 people fled the violence in neighboring Sudan. A good three weeks later, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced the capture of the regional capital Mekele and the end of the military operation.

After weeks of denials, Abiy admitted the presence of Eritrean troops in Tigray this week. On Wednesday, the Ethiopian Commission on Human Rights (EHRC) issued a report accusing Eritrean soldiers of massacring more than a hundred civilians in the city of Aksum. The human rights organizations Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch had previously reported the murder of hundreds of civilians in Tigray.

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