Opposition leader Seyoum Mesfin says forces have ‘attacked villages and killed women and children’ after the government failed to negotiate the release of imprisoned members of his movement
At least 26 civilians have been summarily executed in Ethiopia’s Tigray regional state in recent weeks, Human Rights Watch has said.
Opposition leader Seyoum Mesfin, who lives in exile in Norway, told Agence France-Presse that the “massacre” occurred in the Amhara region of northern Ethiopia. He said the government failed to negotiate the release of imprisoned members of his Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which was president of Ethiopia for 25 years and controls most of the country’s economy.
Reuters could not immediately verify Mesfin’s claim. The Ethiopian government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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TPLF is bitter rival of the main opposition party in Ethiopia, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). In 2007, the Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, was in exile in the Netherlands after military crackdowns against protests over land and electoral rights in the eastern Oromiya region.
In June, the government ended an 18-month state of emergency.
HRW noted that Seyoum said the dead had been summarily executed, while witnesses and Seyoum said they had been forcibly disappeared and had later found their bodies without injury.
“The government of Ethiopia should get to the bottom of this genocide in Tigray, by finding out who killed these civilians and bringing them to justice,” said Paul Risley, a senior researcher for HRW.
“Instead, this grotesque human rights disaster just keeps on happening.”
The Ethiopian prime minister’s office said in a statement on its website that it was aware of the allegations and was investigating.