Seb-Hidri Tigray press release on the war on Tigray
What started as a political crisis ended up in one of the bloodiest wars in the world, and the first conventional war in African soil conducted with such a massive scale of high-precision fighter drone missile bombardment. To Tigray, the last 110 Days have been days of mass killings, rampant rapes, disappearances, internal displacement and migration, looting and destruction of health facilities and schools, intentional killing of domestic animals, burning of crops, blockage of humanitarian aid, communication blackout, electricity blackout in most parts of Tigray.
It is now 110 days since the war on Tigray started. Tigray’s special forces and Tigray’s militia on the one side; Ethiopian National Army, Eritrean National Army, Somalia National Army, Amhara special forces, Amhara militia, Amhara armed youth squad “Fano”, Ethio-Somali Regional Special forces, Afar Regional Special forces, other Ethiopian regional special forces, with Ethiopia’s and Eritrea’s mechanized divisions, and UAE’s high-precision fighter drones on the other hand, conducted a bloody war for 16 weeks now. What started as a political crisis ended up in one of the bloodiest wars in the world, and the first conventional war in African soil conducted with such a massive scale of high-precision fighter drone missile bombardment. To Tigray, the last 110 Days have been days of mass killings, rampant rapes, disappearances, internal displacement and migration, looting and destruction of health facilities and schools, intentional killing of domestic animals, burning of crops, blockage of humanitarian aid, communication blackout, electricity blackout in most parts of Tigray.
- Arbitrary killing and summary execution of civilians: With regards to the killings, there are reports of arbitrary killing and summary execution of civilians throughout Tigray. So far, more than 52,000 civilian killings have been reported, according to a report on Feb 2 by a coalition of three opposition parties in Tigray and growing fast with each day passing. Evidences of mass killings, summary executions are coming out in trickles, recently. The notable few are:
- The Axum Massacre where estimated 800 unarmed civilians were slaughtered mainly on a single day, by Eritrean army
- The May-Kadra massacre- estimated 1100 Ethnic Tigray civilians slaughtered by an Amhara youth armed group “Fano”
- The Edaga-Hamus massacre- 165 unarmed civilians sheltered in a St Marry Dengelet Church were executed summarily by Eritrean and Ethiopian Soldiers; -The Debre-Abay massacre- estimated 150 unarmed civilians executed on a single day, by Ethiopian army. In some villages, more than 80 % males have been killed. Eritrean Army officers in some occasions admitted to have been ordered by their government to kill any male above 12. Few graphic videos have started to come out showing civilians being killed in masses, and left on streets for display.
- Rampant rapes: In what appears to be systematic use of rape as a weapon was also evidenced. In some cases, grandfathers were forced to rape their granddaughters; sons rape their moms, or risk being killed right in front of their family members. There is no police and no health facilities to either report to and/or seek help in more than 90% of Tigray; due to this reason and due to fears of retaliation, Only 0.5-1 % of the victims are thought to be coming out.
- Destruction and looting of the health facilities: The health system in Tigray has completely crumbled; health facilities have been destroyed, looted by invading armies(especially by the Eritrean and the Amhara armies); the Tigray Provisional Government recently disclosed that Out of the 224 health facilities which were functioning before the war, only 11(7.5%) are now fully functional; the rest of the Health facilities in Tigray are bombarded, shelled by heavy artilleries, looted, destroyed, burnt to ashes by the invading armies so that the people of Tigray die of easily treatable communicable and non-communicable diseases. Additionally, of the 280 Ambulances in the region before the war, only 30 are present today (OCHA, Feb 4); the remaining 250 Ambulances are looted by mostly Eritrean and Amhara armies to Asmara and Gonder. Some of there are also being used by the Ethiopian army officers for other purposes. Destroying health facilities (and blocking the opportunity for medical help) and looting all the supportive materials including ambulances at this time of war, starvation, displacement and absent clean water and latrines, is designed to inflict maximum death (extermination) on Ethnic Tigray due to for example diarrhoea, wounds, malnutrition, Tuberculosis, Malaria e.t.c, which have actually become abundant during this time of crisis.
- Looting and destruction of schools including universities: The public and private schools in Tigray have been bombarded, looted, and set ablaze to turn them in to ashes; the materials within(including desks, chairs, books) are looted mostly by Eritrean army; what couldn’t be taken by the invaders was set on fire. Adigrat and Axum Universities were also completely looted and emptied by Eritrean army.
- Killing of Domestic Animals: Millions of domestic animals were killed by the invading armies; what could be edible was eaten; what could not be eaten (due to cultural and religious issues) like donkeys were killed for the sake of that.
- Looting, destruction, Deindustrialization of Tigray: Public and Private, small and large industries were looted and destroyed; public enterprises under EFFORT like Almeda textile, Addis Pharmaceutical Factory, Sheba leather Factory, Ezana mining e.t.c; private industries like Goda Glass Factory, Semayata Marbles e.t.c were all disassembled and looted to Asmara, Gonder, Dessie, Addis Ababa by Eritrean(majority of it), Ethiopian and Amhara armies; Eritrean government is rumoured to have prepared one division (Division 524) having 8000-10,000 soldiers entirely for this purpose. What could not be disassembled and taken to the aforementioned destinations was completely burnt to ashes by the invading forces.
- Destruction, looting of private homes: Tens of thousands of private homes (mostly in rural areas) in Tigray have been shelled, set ablaze, destroyed; in some villages, 100 % of the houses are turned in to ashes (together with what is inside); private households were looted; everything from a dirty diapers to private cars and precious metals were looted; the doors and the ceiling were also taken by the invaders. Special emphasis was given to food items; they made sure that no family has a thing to eat.
- Destruction of entire villages, damaging echo system: They destroyed and burnt small towns and villages in Tigray down with heavy artilleries, drone bombardment, and at times intentionally setting fire with kerosene and matches; they used heavy dynamite to destroy some of the bigger installations.
- Forced eviction, Ethnic cleansing: Close to 50 % Tigray’s land is now under either Eritrea’s or Amhara’s flags. The Amhara special force have conducted a 100% ethnic cleansing in the areas they seized by force. They have killed thousands of civilians (including children, women). They are keeping thousands more in concentration camps; they forced the rest of the population to flee to Sudan or to other places in Tigray. They have brought their own people from Gondar and Gojjam, instead. They are now living in the houses and the lands originally inhabited by the Tigrigna speakers now either dead or fleeing. They continue to kill, rape, and abuse the very few Tigrigna speakers who didn’t leave their homes and their lands.
- Ethnic profiling, discrimination, and dehumanization: Ethnic Tigray throughout Ethiopia profiled, indiscriminately arrested for months, fired from their work places; Ethiopia is a living hell to anyone with Tigray’s blood. Ethnic Tigrians are in daily basis blackmailed, dehumanized, humiliated, and abused for just who they are.
- Intentional, systematic destruction and looting of ancient heritages: Magnificent world heritages in Tigray like Al-Nejashi Mosque, Debredamo & Assimba monasteries and many magnificent heritages have been bombarded, shelled with heavy artilleries intentionally to destroy them. Eritrean army also fired at Axum Obelisk. Ancient scripts and other historically precious materials have been looted from monasteries.
- Burning of crops in the farms: cereal crops were burnt while they were in the fields; this coinciding with the timing of the war (the war starting at the beginning of November- a high time for any farmer in Tigray/Ethiopia to harvest and collect his/her annual food from their farms), maximizes the destruction. The fields were intentionally burnt, and nothing remained behind.
- Blockage of humanitarian aid: Our people, whose crops were burnt, whose homes were looted, who fled their villages to live in mountains in hide; and who had no electricity and no banking services were again denied humanitarian assistance. According to humanitarian aid organizations, more than 80% of Tigray is still cut off from humanitarian aid to date despite the repeated pleas from aid organizations and the international community. The aid organizations have been fighting to get access to the people in need, but the invading forces blocked that for too long intentionally. Ethiopian government and its accomplices are trying to buy as much time as possible. By buying time, they know more people will die of hunger, because hunger doesn’t give time. People have already started dying of hunger. Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Amhara forces are clearly using as a weapon to subdue, to crush Tigray.
All in all, the last 110 days in Tigray were marked by all kinds of war crimes, crimes against humanity and Genocide. Eritrean, Ethiopian and Amhara forces committed every heinous crime in the world. And they did in the dark!
Tigray was cut from the world for 110 days. There were no electricity and telephone services in most parts of Tigray. There was no internet throughout Tigray; there was no functional banking system in Tigray except for handful towns, and business transaction was absent. Tigray is still in the dark. Electricity is cut again for the past few days. So far, more than 2.2 million have been displaced from their homes; more than 60,000 have sought refuge in Sudan. And 4.5 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. Yet, the government of Ethiopia and the Genocide accomplices continue to block humanitarian aid. They did (and continue to do) everything in their capacity to decimate and destroy Tigray, to erase Tigray from the map, and exterminate Ethnic Tigray once and for all, like never seen before. 110 days of war crimes, crimes against humanity and Genocide have gone unabated.
The appalling silence and inaction of the international community is giving a green-light for the on-going Genocide on Ethnic Tigray to continue. What our people need now is not a “We are gravely concerned” lip services; nor do they want words of regret; but, a decisive action to stop the on-going #Genocide on Tigray, now! In 1994, the world saw one of the most shocking human tragedies in Rwanda. Between 7 April and 15 July 1994(100 days), members of the Tutsi ethnic group and some moderate Hutus, were slaughtered by armed militias. The world was very much reluctant to act on time and prevent the human tragedy. On March 25, 1998, President Bill Clinton expressed regret for failing to halt genocide in Rwanda, saying that he didn’t “fully appreciate the depth and the speed with which [Rwandans] were being engulfed by the unimaginable terror”. The world also echoed “Never Again” to heinous crimes against humanity (and more emphatically to Genocide on a specific Ethnic group for who they are). 27 years later, here we are repeating of history, a Deja vu of the past- this time in Ethiopia’s Tigray. “Never again” is happening today, here, in Tigray. It is hoped that the world will learn from the past mistakes, and do the right thing.
We reiterate that a swift, timely concerted international response against the Very Active Genocide in Tigray. In light of this, here follow our proposed points of action:
- Seb-Hidri calls up on the international community to decisively act and stop the Genocide on Ethnic Tigray, conducted by Ethiopian and Eritrean governments, and Amhara expansionist government and Special Forces, NOW!
- Seb-Hidri calls up on the aggressors for immediate ceasefire to the hostilities.
- Seb-Hidri calls up on Ethiopian government to stop blocking access to humanitarian aid and to international media.
- We call for an independent investigation in to the mass killings in Maikadra, Axum, Edaga-Hamus, Debre-Abay, Irob and many other places in Tigray needed!
- We call for independent investigation in to all the alleged acts of war crimes and crimes against humanity (including genocide); we also call for those individuals, parties, and countries involved in the gross violations of human rights, who committed crimes on humanity (including genocide) to be held accountable!
- We demand that Eritrea withdraw its army from Tigray, immediately!
- We demand that Amhara withdraw its troops from the lands where ethnic cleansing was conducted on Ethnic Tigray, and now occupied with new people from distant areas.
- It is now certain that Ethiopian government has no whatsoever legitimacy and zero credibility in Tigray; Ethiopian Government is considered as a Government that together with its foreign and domestic accomplices planned and executed all sorts of crimes including war crimes, crimes against humanity and Genocide. We demand that Ethiopia withdraw its Army from Tigray, and we advise that a UN-mandated human-rights monitoring and peace-keeping mission be put in place until a legitimate government is restored and government institutions are restored, similar to the UN missions in Kosovo and other places in the world.
- Seb-Hidri demands that telecommunication services (including internet) and electricity services be restored throughout Tigray, now!
- Seb-Hidri Calls independent investigation in to the recent extrajudicial killings of Journalists like Dawit Kebede of Tigray Mass Media and veteran politicians including former Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin, Abay Tsehaye, and Asmelash Woldeslassie.
- Seb-Hidri calls for the immediate release of All political prisoners, including Dori Asgedom, and other thousands political prisoners languishing in prison cells for the opinions they hold and for who they are (Ethnic background).
- Seb-Hidri demands a UNESCO-Led through investigation in to the destruction of ancient heritages in Tigray.Seb-Hidri Tigray Civil Society February 21, 2021
Seb-Hidri Tigray Civil Society is a grass root youth-oriented local NGO based in Ethiopia, committed in promoting human rights, rule of law, and good governance in Tigray, Ethiopia.