Ethopia’s human rights body, after investigation, stated that at least 600 civilians were killed in an ethnically-driven massacre earlier this month in the town of Mai Kadra in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.
Tigray, Ethiopia, has witnessed a large amount of fighting since the 4th of November 2020, when when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched an assault against the regional government after alleged attacks by Tigrayan security forces against the central government’s military posts in the northern region.
Since then, it has been hard to get information and make sure it is true, because there are communication cuts and access to Tigray tightly controlled.
The killings in Mai Kadra, Ethiopia, on the 9th of November 2020 were first reported by rights watchdog Amnesty International three days later, which arose fears of war crimes being committed as fighting intensified.
On the 14th of November 2020, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) dispatched a team of experts to the region for an investigation that ran until the 19th November 2020.
On Tuesday the 24th of November 2020, the government-appointed but independent body said it had found that the killings were carried out by a local youth group called Samri, with the support of other Tigrayan civilians, police and militia.
The EHRC said it estimated at least 600 civilians were killed in Mai Kadra but added that the death toll was likely to be higher.
EHRC stated, in a report, that people from different ethnic groups were killed but the main target seems to have been Amharas and Wolkaits based.
The report went on to state that the local militia and police security apparatus joined forces with members of the Samri group to carry out door-to-door raids and kill hundreds of people they identified as ethnic Amharas and Wolkait origin, by beating them with sticks, stabbing them with knives, machetes and hatchets and strangling them with ropes.
Tigray’s rulers, from the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), have denied any responsibility for the Mai Kadra massacre.
In its report on the 12th of November 2020, Amnesty stated that it was not been able to confirm who was responsible for the killings but the witnesses it had spoken to blamed forces loyal to the TPLF.