Eritreans crossed the border into northern Ethiopia shortly after Mr. Abiy launched a military campaign in Tigray on November 4, accusing Tigrayan rebel leaders of orchestrating an attack on a major military base and to try to overthrow the federal government.
As the fighting accelerated, reports of serious abuses against civilians began to emerge from Tigray. Ethiopian soldiers, allied fighters of the Ahmara ethnic militias and fighters loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front have all been charged.
But UN officials and human rights groups have named Eritrean troops for many of the worst violations. Last weekend, Mr Abiy spent five hours speaking with US Senator Chris Coons, who had been sent to Ethiopia by President Biden to express his concern over the deteriorating situation.
In a briefing to reporters on Thursday, Mr Coons said the talks were at times “straightforward” and that Mr Abiy had reiterated his pledge to investigate human rights violations in Tigray, including “credible reports reporting sexual violence as a tool of war. “
But Mr Abiy has not honored those commitments before, Mr Coons said, and the United States intends to keep the pressure on. “It’s the actions that count,” he said.
A State Department spokeswoman on Friday welcomed Ethiopia’s announcement, calling it an “important step” towards de-escalation.
Witnessing the impunity that characterizes the conflict in Tigray, Ethiopian soldiers dragged civilians from a bus on a main road in Tigray and executed four of them in front of aid workers from Doctors Without Borders, the group said Thursday in a report. communicated. .