Three soldiers were convicted of rape, while 28 were charged with manslaughter and 25 others charged with rape and sexual assault.

Ethiopian military prosecutors have convicted three soldiers of rape and filed charges against 28 other suspects in killing civilians in the ongoing conflict in the northern Tigray region, the attorney general’s office announced.

In addition, 25 more soldiers are charged with rape and other forms of sexual violence, according to a statement Friday.

He six-month Tigray conflict it blames the deaths of thousands of people and atrocities such as rape, extrajudicial killings and forced evictions, according to local authorities and aid groups.

The statement from the attorney general’s office also confirmed reports of two massacres in Tigray. It was said that 229 civilians were killed in the town of Mai Kadra in early November.

In addition, the Ethiopian government also first accused neighboring Eritrean troops of killing civilians in the war-torn region.

110 civilians were said to have been killed in the city of Axum on 27 and 28 November “by Eritrean troops”.

“The investigation shows that 70 civilians have been killed in the city [of Axum] while they were outdoors, “the report said, adding that some of the killings could have been” irregular fighters. “

“It appears that forty civilians have been taken from their homes and killed in house-to-house raids carried out by Eritrean troops,” the report said.

People mourn the victims of a massacre allegedly perpetrated by Eritrean soldiers in the village of Dengolat, north of Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray. [File: Eduardo Soteras/AFP]

In previous reports on Axum, both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty also blamed Eritrean troops fighting at Tigray and said the dead were mostly civilians.

Amnesty said Eritreans “assaulted and systematically killed hundreds of cold-blooded civilians.”

“Ethnic cleansing”

The Tigray conflict erupted in early November when Prime Minister Abiy sent troops to arrest and disarm the leaders of the regional government party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Abiy said the move came in response to TPLF attacks on federal army camps.

Atrocity reports have led U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to allege this “Ethnic cleansing” takes place in the western part of the Tigray.

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution condemning “all violence against civilians” in Tigray and calling for the withdrawal of troops from neighboring Eritrea, which also sent troops to Tigray to support the Ethiopian government.

On Friday, some Ethiopians, both at home and abroad, organized a “Hands Off Ethiopia” social media campaign in which they urged foreign countries to stop “interfering in Ethiopian affairs”.

Abiy, who came to power in 2018 and introduced radical democratic reforms for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, has promised that the upcoming June 21 parliamentary elections will be free and fair. His prosperity party must get the majority of seats in the Ethiopian parliament in order to remain prime minister.

In addition to the Tigray conflict, the Abyy government is struggling to contain it ethnic violence in various regions of Ethiopia.

The opposition Oromo Federalist Congress has pledged to boycott the vote, saying it is being harassed by authorities. Several of its leaders remain in jail after a wave of violent riots sparked last summer over the murder of an Oromo musician.


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