Ethiopia rejects UN report on war crimes in Tigray
ADDIS ABABA - The government of Ethiopia has dismissed the report compiled by the United Nations [UN] dragging the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to mass murder in the Tigray region, which also indicted the regime of starving the people of the northern part of the Horn of Africa nation.
In the report, the Commission of Human Rights Experts maintained that it has empirical evidence linking the government to the ongoing massacre within the Tigray region which has proceeded even with persistent calls for ceasefire by stakeholders.
The report, which has since been unveiled, links the Nobel Peace Prize winner of 2019; PM Abiy Ahmed to "intentionally causing great suffering" by denying aid to Tigray, a region of 6 million. The fighting entered its 22nd week and the Ethiopian troops are still working closely with Eritrea to attack innocent civilians in Tigray.
Kaari Betty Murungi, one of the commission's three independent rights experts, and its chair said the denial of food, medicine, and basic services was "having a devastating impact on the civilian population."
"We have reasonable grounds to believe it amounts to a crime against humanity," she said on Monday following the release of the report, the commission's first. "We also have reasonable grounds to believe that the federal government is using starvation as a method of warfare," she added.
Zenebe Kebede, Ethiopia's permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva claimed that the commission of independent experts was "politically motivated" and its conclusions were "self-contradictory and biased."
"There is not any single evidence that shows the government of Ethiopia used humanitarian aid as an instrument of war," the envoy told AFP, describing the report as "a mockery" and "rubbish." "Therefore, we have no other option but to reject this report."
Fighting in the region was renewed about three weeks ago when the Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF] started using drones that have killed innocent civilians including children, especially in Mekelle, the regional administrative capital of Tigray.
The Eritrean troops are also accused of collaborating with ENDF to terrorize the people of Tigray, with evidence obtained also showcasing cases of training of Ethiopian troops in Eritrea before being dispatched to Tigray. Amhara regional militia is also fighting alongside the national army.
In retaliation, the Tigray People's Liberation Front [TPLF] which has been trying to protect the region from incursion, has started going rampage in Amhara and Afar regions, seizing several towns from Ethiopian troops. However, the rebels have expressed willingness to work closely with the African Union on a peace mission.
Mike Hammer, the U.S. special envoy to the region who just returned from 11 days in Ethiopia, said Washington "had been tracking Eritrean troop movements across the border."
"They're extremely concerning, and we condemn it," Hammer told reporters on Tuesday. "The presence of Eritrean troops in Ethiopia only serves to complicate matters and inflame an already tragic situation."
Abiy Ahmed has remained mum on the atrocities being committed in Tigray but at one point, he was pictured taking arms along with the national army while on an operation in Tigray. The Tigray People's Liberation Front has often accused him of meeting violence against innocent civilians.