According to Amnesty, members of the TPLF are responsible for gang rape in the Ethiopian region of Amhara

According to Amnesty International, members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray (TPLF) raped 16 women in the Ethiopian city of Nifas Meucha in the Amhara region (north) after taking control of them in mid-August.

The survivors have told the NGO that they were raped, robbed and attacked at gunpoint by members of the TPLF, who also looted and destroyed medical facilities, as the conflict widened in Tigray a year ago.

According to Amnesty, members of the TPLF are responsible for gang rape in the Ethiopian region of Amhara
According to Amnesty, members of the TPLF are responsible for gang rape in the Ethiopian region of Amhara

A total of 14 of the 16 victims stated that they were between the 12th hands of the TPLF in Nifas Meucha during the time they were in control of the city.

“The testimonies we have heard from survivors describe heinous acts by TPLF fighters that amount to war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity,” said the NGO’s general secretary Agnès Callamard.

“They are questioning morality or any other iota of humanity,” he insisted, before demanding that the TPLF “put an immediate end to all human rights violations and violations of humanitarian law, including sexual and gender-based violence.”

He emphasized that the leadership of the group “must make it clear that these abuses will not be tolerated and that those who are allegedly responsible must be employed”. The women interviewed identified their attackers as TPLF fighters based on their accent and ethnic insults against the victims, as well as their own statements about belonging to the group.

Bemnet said the militiamen came to her house and asked her to make coffee for her before three of them raped her. “I was suspicious of their intentions. I told my daughters to stay away from the house. They told me to bring them, but I told them they wouldn’t come, ”he said.

“They started insulting me. They told me ‘Amhara is a donkey’ and ‘Amhara is useless’. One of them told the others to stop insulting me. He said,’ She is our mother, us don’t have to hurt them. “They made him leave the house and three stayed. Then they took turns raping me,” he added.

Gebayanesh emphasized that “it is not easy to say what they did to him”. “They raped me. Three of them raped me while my kids were crying. My oldest son is ten and the other is nine. They did what they wanted and left. They attacked me too, and Shiro and Berbere – local Food – takeaway. They hit and kicked me. They pointed their guns at me like they were going to shoot me, “he said.

Hamelmal also said that four TPLF fighters raped her in her house in front of her daughter. “I have daughters, ten and two years old. I was afraid that my daughter would be killed. I told them, ‘Don’t kill my daughter, do what you want with me. The youngest slept, but the oldest was awake and saw what was happening. I don’t have the strength to say what he saw, “he explained.

Amnesty noted that in some cases the militants told women that they would rape them in revenge for the rape of Tigers women by government forces. The NGO has documented rape by soldiers and Allied troops in Tigray.

With this in mind, Hamelmal emphasized that one of the men who raped her said: “Amhara massacred our people, the Bundeswehr raped my wife, now we can rape if we want.” Amhara special forces supported the army’s offensive against Tigray.

On the other hand, the NGO denounced that those responsible also ransacked their homes and took away food, jewelry, money and cell phones. “Four of them went to my restaurant and ate and drank what was at home. Then two of them raped me and took my ring and a necklace,” said Meskerem.

Frehiwot has stated that she was raped several times by groups between August 12 and 20, adding that one of the TPLF fighters stole her phone and money. In this sense, in addition to the theft of jewelry, Tigist has also denounced rape and the destruction of his shop.

15 of the 16 respondents described that they suffered from physical and psychological problems as a result of this aggression, including bleeding in the urine, back pain, problems walking, anxiety and depression. Material damage to health care facilities has made it difficult for them to receive adequate care.

“The Ethiopian government must accelerate its efforts to provide full support to survivors of sexual violence and other victims of the conflict. As an urgent first step, it must provide immediate and unrestricted access to all conflict-affected areas of northern Ethiopia,” said Callamard.

“The government must ensure that complaints about sexual violence are investigated quickly, effectively, independently and impartially,” he said. “You must bring suspects to justice in open, accessible and civil courts according to international non-capital fair trial standards and redress the victims,” ​​he said. riveted.

In this context, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has denounced that the government’s blockade of the provision of vital aid and services in Tigray is preventing survivors of sexual violence from receiving aid in the face of the devastation of the health system in the area.

The NGO stressed that rape victims between the ages of six and 80 suffered severe trauma and stigmatization under the attacks and repeated that “the parties to the conflict in Tigray committed widespread sexual violence in the first few months while deliberately attacking health facilities”.

“The government’s effective siege of Tigray since June has made the survivors double victims by denying them medical and psychosocial assistance,” said Nisha Varia, director of women’s rights at HRW.

The organization has indicated that the conflict has resulted in sexual violence, including rape, gang rape, sexual slavery and torture, often accompanied by family murders, assaults and torture, in areas controlled by the Ethiopian and Eritrean armies and the Amhara militias ethnic insults.

It was also stressed that TPLF fighters had been implicated in rape, killings and other attacks against Eritrean refugees in the area and against civilians in the Amhara community living in the Amhara area.

“One day an Ethiopian soldier came to the hospital with a (teenage) girl,” said a doctor. “We did an analysis and found that she was pregnant. She was one of the sex slaves in the Gereb Giba military camp – near the regional capital, Mekelle -” he added.

“With her consent, we terminated her pregnancy. We gave her medication for hepatitis. After that, many women and girls came to look for medication and to have an abortion after they were raped by conflict actors, mainly Eritrean troops and the Ethiopian armed forces,” said he called.

For this reason, Varia emphasized that “a year after the devastating conflict in Tigray began, survivors of sexual violence are in urgent need of health and support services.” “Not only have Nigerian women and girls suffered terrible abuse, but they are also faced with food and medicine shortages, and others are in dire need of help rebuilding their lives,” he said.

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