Addis Ababa, Nov 24 (efe-epa).- At least 600 civilians were killed on Nov 9 in an attack by forces loyal to the Tigray Liberation Front (TPLF), the party that governs the region and against which the Ethiopian government launched a military offensive five days earlier, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said Tuesday.
The massacre took place in the Tigrigna town of Maikadra. Most of the victims were men from the Amhara and Wolkait ethnic groups, who were separated from the rest of the population by the attackers, said the EHRC, an independent human rights institution, in a preliminary report on the massacre.
“While it is not yet possible to verify the exact number of dead, physically injured and/or those who suffered material damage, members of the Burial Committee, established after the attack, eye witnesses and other local sources estimate that at least 600 (civilians) have been killed,” the EHRC said.
“And they say the number is likely to be even higher,” the committee said, noting that the number of dead was so high that “the burial took three days” in Maikadra, a rural town in Ethiopia’s Tigray region (north) near the border with Sudan.
Days before the attack, when the Ethiopian Army was approaching the town of 40,000 to 45,000 inhabitants (mainly Tigrayans, Amharas and Wolkaits), police and a local militia sealed off all exits from the town.
DEATHS BY STABBING AND STRANGULATION
They also let women and children of Tigrinya origin march before the massacre, perpetrated on November 9 from 3pm that day until early the next morning, before the Ethiopian Army entered the city.
The massacre was largely the work of the Samri youth movement, linked to the TPLF, which killed its victims by beating “them with sticks, stabbing them with knives, machetes and hatchets and strangling them with ropes”.
Although several Samri groups perpetrated the massacre, “the police and the militia (…) helped and directly participated in the carnage by shooting those who tried to escape,” the report said.
“Maikadra’s attack is not a simple criminal act, but a serious premeditated and carefully coordinated violation of human rights,” the Commission noted.