Amnesty International did not contact the government of Eritrea to verify claims about the alleged massacre in Axum
Eritrea on Friday expressed outrage over Amnesty International’s latest report regarding alleged human rights violations and the “massacre of hundreds of civilians” in the historic city of Aksum, Tigray regional state.
Yemane Gebremeskel, Ministry of Information of Eritrea, said in a twitter message that “Eritrea is outraged and categorically rejects the preposterous accusations levelled against it by Amnesty International in a fallacious report issued today. The report is largely based on testimonies of some 31 individuals from the Hamdayet Refugee camp in Sudan.”
Amnesty claimed that Eritrean troops “systematically killed hundreds of unarmed civilians in the northern city of Axum on 28-29 November 2020.”
The interview-based report from Amnesty made further claims when it said that Eritrean troops opened fire in the streets and house-to-house raids.
Earlier this week, Ethiopian government reaffirmed that Eritrean troops were not deployed in the Tigray region of Ethiopia and that law enforcement operation following TPLF attack on Ethiopian Defense Force was carried out by FDRE Defense Force.
Amnesty report admitted that it interviewed what it called “survivors”, in Hamdayet Refugee camp in Sudan, from “ Eritrean troops attack in Aksum.”
Eritrea’s Minister for Information said that many in the camp mentioned above are TPLF militias who crossed the Sudanese border after carrying out an ethnic-cleansing massacre in Maikadra in November 2020.
In January 2021, secretariat of Ethiopia’s State of Emergency Fact Check Task Force, Redwan Hussien, announced that most TPLF militia and special forces who conducted ethnic-based massacres in Maikadra fled to Sudan Refugee camp.
The Eritrean government announced that it was not contacted by Amnesty International for a fact check. Yeman Gebremeskel remarked ‘It must be underscored that Amnesty made absolutely no attempt to seek any information from Eritrea. Moreover, the fabricated Axum accusation has mutated over the last month from a “massacre of Orthodox Christians at St. Mary’s Church” to “house-to-house” killing of civilians”
The Ethiopian government was not contacted either regarding the alleged Axum massacre.
There have been accusations from activists (both Eritreans and Ethiopians) that Amnesty International has become biased. Crimes committed by Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) including the Maikadra ethnic cleansing massacre was not given the attention it deserves, and is not thoroughly investigated.
Ethiopian government this week reaffirmed that it is ready to investigate any rights abuse in the northern part of the country.
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