The United States is gravely concerned by the reports of atrocities, including sexual violence, committed by fighters affiliated with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, as described in a recent Amnesty International report.
The atrocities were perpetrated in and around Chenna and Kobo in late August and early September 2021, shortly after Tigrayan forces took control of the areas in July.
“This includes repeated incidents of widespread rape, summary killings and looting, including from hospitals,” said Sarah Jackson, Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes at Amnesty International.
In Kobo, a town in northeast Amhara, Tigrayan fighters deliberately killed unarmed civilians.
From July 2021 onwards, in and around Chenna, another village in the Amhara region, Tigrayan forces raped dozens of women and girls. Amnesty International reported that “the sexual violence was accompanied by shocking levels of brutality, including beatings, death threats, and ethnic slurs.” Many of the survivors suffered severe physical and psychological damage.
Amnesty International has previously documented similar patterns of Tigrayan fighters raping Amhara women and girls in Nifas Mewcha, and has received credible reports of rape from other areas of the Amhara region.
In both Kobo and the Chenna area, residents told Amnesty International that Tigrayan fighters stole from their homes and shops and looted and vandalized public properties, including medical clinics and schools. The looting and damage to medical facilities made it impossible for rape survivors and other residents in need of medical care to obtain treatment locally.
Continued reports of atrocities underscore the urgency of ending the ongoing military conflict, said State Department spokesperson Ned Price. “We continue to engage parties to the conflict to urge a halt to the violence, an end to atrocities, the unhindered provision of life-saving humanitarian assistance, and a peaceful resolution to the conflict.”
“We call on all armed actors to renounce and end all human rights abuses and violence against civilians,” said spokesperson Price. “It remains our firm position that there must be credible investigations into and accountability for atrocities as part of any lasting solution to the crisis.”