Numerous massacres in different locations have been reported since the start of the war on Tigray. The Mai Kadra massacre has been the most publicized. No sooner had the massacre been committed than the Abiy government started to use it to rally support for the war. It followed the same pattern of committing crimes and blaming it on TPLF and Tigrayans, like the massacre in Wollega zone (Guliso Werda), to galvanize public support and to portray the TPLF and Tigrayans as evils. What is unique about the Mai Kadra massacre, however, is that the Abiy government used Amhara (allegedly) in-laws, Daniel Bekele of Ethiopia’s Human Rights Commission and Netsanet Belay of Amnesty International, to publish credible-sounding reports that parrot its propaganda line, deceiving, at least for some time, the international community. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission’s report is not unexpected in today’s Ethiopia where every Ethiopian institution has completely been turned to Abiy Ahmed’s propaganda machine. But Amnesty’s complicity remains baffling.
In its report released on November 12, 2020, Amnesty International said that it had confirmed the massacre of a very large number of civilians who appear to have been day laborers in Mai Kadra. Amnesty said it spoke to witnesses who said forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) were responsible for the mass killings. We believe this was staged by the invading forces. This is the moment the organization failed to report objectively. It failed to detect the motives by forces that have the interest to fabricate.
Amnesty International claims that it investigates and exposes the facts, whenever and wherever abuses happen. However, in their biased reporting of the Mai Kadra massacre, they failed to do so by falling to a government propaganda ploy. The biased report was used to further dehumanize Tigrayans and to provide fuel for the war on Tigray. Amnesty has, through its blatantly wrong report and subsequent failure to issue correction or apology, contributed to further massacres and destruction in Tigray and the ethnic profiling and targeting of Tigrayans outside Tigray. Despite several reports that dispute the Amnesty report and point the finger at the government of Abiy Ahmed, Amnesty has kept quiet as if it did nothing wrong.
We have managed to collect plenty of incredible facts from the relatives, eyewitnesses, and testimonies on the ground to reflect exactly what happened in Mai Kadra on November 09, 2020. We have also identified by name many of the massacred. What happened in Mai Kadra is a horrific and senseless massacre of ethnic Tigrayans. The evidence we have collected so far from survivors who fled to Sudan shows that civilian Tigrayans were stabbed and hacked to death with machetes and axes by the Amhara militias and the Fano rebel group. For example, Mr. Tesfay Mitiku (60), Mr. Aregay Weldu (82), Mr. Mehari Niguse (47), Mr. Birhane Gebrehiwet Gebremedhin (28), Mr. Haftu (80) with his wife are some of the Tigrayan civilians stabbed and hacked to death with machetes and axes. These are some of the untold sides of the stories of real victims the Amnesty report did not include.
The Abiy government has refused to allow an independent investigation of the massacres in Mai Kadra. The Tigray government and many other organizations have called for an independent investigation. The UN statement which was issued on 22 December 2020 also calls for an independent investigation. We appreciate this call and we demand urgent action not only to investigate the crimes but also to stop those that are happening and to prevent further crimes. The UN shall establish an independent commission mandated with the investigation of crimes of atrocities in Tigray. It shall also take action for humanitarian corridors to be opened to stop the massacre by mass starvation.