Witnesses speaking to CNN on condition of anonymity described how Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers raided at least two IDP centers where they beat and harassed Tigrayans displaced by conflict that has reportedly killed thousands of civilians since November 2020. The soldiers then took hundreds of people. far, witnesses said
Four military vehicles initially surrounded the Adi Wenfito and Tsehay camps, witnesses said, before soldiers began rounding up young men, forcing them onto buses and taking them to a location believed to be on the outskirts of Shire. As soldiers burst into an abandoned school housing the refugees, witnesses said they shouted, “We’ll see if America saves you now!” “
“They forced the door, the men didn’t even have a chance to put their shoes on. The soldiers had their weapons locked, [ready to shoot], said a witness.
A woman said two of her sons – aged 19 and 24 – were dragged out of their home around 9:30 p.m. that evening. “They didn’t say why they were taking them, they just rounded them up, beat them and took them away,” she told CNN, adding that she was too afraid of what would be done to her sons to pose. Questions.
One man described hours of beatings by Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers. “A lot of us are young, but there are people out there who are much older and won’t be able to take the blows any longer,” he said.
Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Ghebremeskel denied the information and dismissed previous CNN reports, saying: “How long will you continue to believe at face value all ‘witness statements’ … We have heard so much? stories wrong or wrong.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights previously called for an independent investigation into human rights violations in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, following CNN’s report of a massacre against civilians in this country.
Elisabeth Haslund, spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the agency that works with displaced people, told CNN: 200 days of violence
The conflict in Tigray has raged for more than 200 days, pitting Tigray’s regional leaders, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF), against the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, Eritrean soldiers and Amhara ethnic militias. Since the conflict began last year, civilians have been targeted by Ethiopian government forces and Eritrean allied forces and militias.
This latest incident, however, is a significant escalation of what is described by aid workers and witnesses in Shire as an ongoing extrajudicial campaign targeting young men perceived to be “of fighting age.”
Aid agencies estimate that the town of Shire has tripled in size, hosting up to 800,000 Tigrayans forced from their homes in the far west of the region following actions by ethnic Ethiopian, Eritrean and Amhara militias described by the secretary of ‘US State Antony Blinken’ ethnic cleansing. ”
Aid workers told CNN that Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers had blocked a key road to Shire for months, limiting supplies even as displaced people continued to flow into the city.
An aid worker told CNN that dozens of vehicles carrying aid to Shire were turned back on Saturday alone. A CNN crew in the region was able to film Eritrean soldiers obstructing aid along the route in April.
CNN has contacted the Ethiopian prime minister’s office and the Eritrean information minister for comment, but has not received a response.
The United States on Sunday evening announced “far-reaching” financial sanctions and visa restrictions against Ethiopian, Eritrean, Amhara and TPLF officials whom it considers “accomplices” to abuse or obstruct the resolution of crisis. A State Department spokesperson told CNN the sanctions would be enforced as “unilateral action” by the United States. CNN has sought the State Department’s comment on Shire’s latest reports.
In a statement, Ethiopia’s foreign ministry rejected the US sanctions. Many witnesses see this latest rise in violence as a statement of defiance in the face of growing international censorship.
In videos sent to CNN on Tuesday morning, which were secretly filmed, desperate parents can be seen gathering on the grounds of the local UNHCR office. In a video, Ethiopian soldiers speak to parents inside the compound.
CNN was able to geotag the videos to a location in downtown Shire by examining the metadata in the raw files and matching the major landmarks of the images to the surrounding area, such as the Kholafaa e Rashedeen Mosque. The metadata also revealed the date and time the videos were shot – May 25, 2021 around 7:45 a.m. local time – which matches the direction of sunlight and the length of shadows in the video, according to a CNN analysis. One of the videos also features a UNHCR logo supporting the accounts.
The audio of the video is indistinct but witnesses say the parents were told, “We could kill you here and the UN would do nothing but take pictures of you.” “