The Ethiopian Government body dismissed the claim about the “slaughter” in Tigray as “unsubstantiated that suffers from unfortunate political motive”
February 3, 2021
Three ethnic Tigray opposition parties (Salsay Woyane, Tigray Independence Party and National Congress of Great Tigray — Baytona) on Tuesday released a statement claiming that “more than 52,000 innocent civilians; including children, women, youth, elders and religious fathers; have been slaughtered indiscriminately.”
The story has been published by The Associated Press and reposted by several publishers including The Washington Post which Ethiopia State of Emergency Fact Check, a body established to share information about the state of emergency, dismissed as “unsubstantiated” and charged with political motives.
Furthermore, the three parties, which are required by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to verify that they did not take part in the war on the side of TPLF, made claims that 3 million people are internally displaced in Tigray and 150,000 internationally displaced. It also said, “Extra-judicial killings and gang rapes have become everyday practices of the aggressors.”
In a reaction to the claims and its coverage on international media outlets, Ethiopia State of Emergency Fact Check said that “The Government of Ethiopia regrets any casualties to civilians during the law enforcement operations. Even one death of an innocent civilian is too many. The fact that we have not found ourselves with significant civilian casualties is a testament to the careful planning and professionalism of our defense forces. Reports of assessment of civilians casualties that is being circulated in various international media outlets are unsubstantiated and suffer from unfortunate political motives.”
For the three ethnic Tigray parties, “The Ethiopian government declared a total war against the people of Tigray…because Tigray defied the decision to postpone the sixth round election.” Another claim in that regard is that troops from Somalia and Eritrea took part in the war.
The Ethiopian government narrative is entirely different and is confirmed by some key TPLF leaders. The war started on November 4, 2020, after several military bases of the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defense Force were attacked by TPLF forces in unsuspecting circumstances — which some TPLF leaders called “preemptive Blitzkrieg attack” whose motive was to march to Addis Ababa.
Another allegation against Ethiopian government is that it is using “hunger as a weapon to subdue Tigray since it has been obstructing international efforts for humanitarian assistance.”
Provisional Tigray Administration which was established after TPLF was annihilated said last month that delivering humanitarian assistance and medical supplies to different parts of the region was difficult as damaged infrastructures and security situations in some parts of the region created complexities. TPLF conscripted and trained about 250,000 militia and special forces before the war. A considerable number is believed to be in the region although in unorganized form, but they could disrupt humanitarian deliveries.
Despite that the Ethiopian government this week said that it has provided humanitarian assistance in the region to 80 percent of the people who needed it.
The UNHCR high commissioner, Flippo Grandi, visited Tigray two refugee camps in Tigray this week, and he asked government to restore communications in areas where it is not.
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