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Survivors recount horrific details of Mai Kadra massacre

Amnesty International
Tigray People’s Liberation Front
Al Jazeera
Tilahun Getnet
the United Nations

Mai Kadra
Eduardo Soteras
Solomon Chaklu
Ferede Leu
Hadas Mezgebu
Amhara.”On the
Tebekaw Zewdu
Debretsion Gebremichael
Abiy Ahmed
Fesseha Tessema
Michelle Bachelet
Fisseha Tekle


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The New York Times
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Witnesses and relatives of victims say the bloodletting in the small town in Ethiopia’s war-hit Tigray region went on unabated for almost 24 hours.With communications gradually being restored to parts of Ethiopia’s war-hit Tigray region, survivors and residents in the town of Mai Kadra have been able to share harrowing accounts of the slaughter of civilians more than a month ago, the worst confirmed atrocity in a weeks-long conflict between government forces and the now-fugitive regional government.On November 12, nearly two weeks after the start of the fighting in the northern region, an Amnesty International investigation cited witnesses as saying that forces linked to the embattled Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) had gone on a rampage in the small town three days earlier.Armed with blunt objects including machetes and knives, the attackers hacked and stabbed residents to death, the witnesses told Amnesty, which said it could confirm “the massacre of a very large number of civilians” after examining and verifying gruesome photographs and videos from the scene.Days later, a preliminary investigation by a government-appointed rights watchdog stated that there may be as many as 600 victims, saying the killings were committed by a local youth group with the support of other Tigrayan civilians, police and militia.The massacre in Mai Kadra is the worst known attack on civilians during the conflict [File: Eduardo Soteras/AFP]Home to up to 45,000 people of Tigrayan, Amhara and other ethnic origins, Mai Kadra had been under the control of the TPLF until its forces retreated from the town a day after the massacre as Ethiopian government troops made advances in western Tigray.Despite the Ethiopian government’s capture of the Tigrayan capital of Mekelle on November 28, fighting between the TPLF and Ethiopian army units is believed to be continuing in parts of rural Tigray. “The heinous crime committed against Tigrayans in Mai Kadra is just one among similar crimes that should be investigated by an international body,” he said.Earlier this week, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said there is “an urgent need” for independent monitoring of the developments in Tigray, warning that the “exceedingly worrying and volatile” situation “is spiralling out of control, with appalling impact on civilians”.Amnesty, meanwhile, concurs there may be victims of additional atrocities among people of both ethnicities during the fighting, but its lead Ethiopia researcher said the organisation has no doubt as to who was behind the killings of November 9.“We have had follow-up interviews with victims, who say the killers were provided support by armed local [TPLF] militia,” Fisseha Tekle, Amnesty’s lead Ethiopia researcher, told Al Jazeera.

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