Rape survivors describe slavery, mutilation in Tigray

Ethiopian and Eritrean troops have raped hundreds of women and girls during the Tigray war, subjecting some to sexual slavery and mutilation, Amnesty International said in a report Wednesday.

Drawing from interviews with 63 survivors, the report sheds new light on a scourge already being investigated by Ethiopian law enforcement officials, with at least three soldiers convicted and 25 others charged.

Some survivors said they had been gang-raped while held captive for weeks on end. Others described being raped in front of their family members.

‘Like I wasn’t a person’: Ethiopian forces accused of systematic rape in Tigray

Ethiopian government forces have been systematically raping and abusing hundreds of women and girls in the current conflict in Tigray, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

Adding to a growing body of evidence that rape is being used as a weapon of war in the northern region of Ethiopia, Amnesty’s research offers a snapshot of the extent of the crimes in an area where communications with the outside world have been deliberately restricted by federal authorities.

Amnesty: Rape survivors describe slavery, mutilations in Tigray

‘Severity and scale’ of sexual crimes committed by Ethiopian and Eritrean troops amount to war crimes, the rights group says.

Ethiopian and Eritrean troops have raped hundreds of women and girls during the Tigray war, subjecting some to sexual slavery and mutilation, human rights group Amnesty International has said in a 36-page report.

Drawing from interviews with 63 survivors, the report (PDF) published on Wednesday sheds new light on a scourge already being investigated by Ethiopian law enforcement officials, with at least three soldiers convicted and 25 others charged.

At river where Tigrayan bodies floated, fears of ‘many more’

From time to time, a body floating down the river separating Ethiopia’s troubled Tigray region from Sudan was a silent reminder of a war conducted in the shadows. But recently, the corpses became a flow.

Bloated, drained of color from their journey, the bodies were often mutilated: genitals severed, eyes gouged, a missing limb. The Sudanese fishermen who spotted them, and the refugees from Tigray who helped pull them to shore, found many corpses’ hands bound. Some of them had been shot.

The Associated Press reported dozens of bodies floating down the Tekeze River last week and saw six of the graves on Wednesday, marking the first time any reporters could reach the scene. Doctors who saw the bodies said one was tattooed with a common name in the Tigrinya language and others had the facial markings common among Tigrayans, raising fresh alarm about atrocities in the least-known area of the Tigray war.

Refugees find more bodies in river separating Tigray, Sudan

Six more bodies have been found floating down the river separating Ethiopia’s troubled Tigray region from Sudan, refugees and a physician said on Saturday. They urged Sudanese authorities and the U.N. to help in search efforts.

Around 50 bodies have been discovered over the last two weeks in the Setit River, which flows through some of the most troubled areas of the nine-month conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, according to Tigray refugees.

nytimes: As Ethiopia’s Civil War Rages, Bodies Float Downriver Into Sudan

The bodies floated over the border in ones and twos, bloated and bearing knife or gunshot wounds, carried on waters that flow from the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia.

At least 40 bodies have washed up on a riverbank in eastern Sudan in the past week, in some cases just a few hundred yards from the border with Ethiopia, according to international aid workers and doctors who helped retrieve the corpses.

The grisly finds at the river are apparent evidence of the latest atrocities in a brutal, nine-month civil war between Ethiopian federal forces and their allies, and fighters in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia — a conflict accompanied by reports of massacres, ethnic cleansing and widespread sexual assault.

Tigray: As famine looms, first WFP humanitarian flight arrives

As conflict escalates in the surrounding regions, including neighbouring Afar, safe passage for humanitarian convoys into Tigray remains a primary concern for WFP and the humanitarian community. 

WFP hopes to reach an additional 80,000 people in the northwest, warning that once distributed, food stocks are likely to run out thereafter.

In Ethiopia camp, displaced Tigrayans live with hunger, fear

Many came with almost nothing. And yet, “I don’t want to think of going back,” said 21-year-old Wegahta Weldie, a student from Mai Kadra, the scene of the six-month-old conflict’s first known massacre.

She recalled stepping on dead bodies there as her family hid in a maize field and then walked hundreds of kilometers (miles) to reach Mekele.

“Many people had been killed and it was very dark,” she said. “I could not tell whether they were my relatives or not.”

East Africa: ERIPS Statement on Addressing the Conflict and Refugee Situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region

While calls for the Government of Eritrea to pull out of the conflict in Ethiopia increases, the international community must also consider the repercussions of Eritrean intervention in the Tigray war if a lasting solution is to be developed.

“Refugees International is concerned about reports that Ethiopian government forces and Eritrean soldiers have forced Eritrean refugees to return to Eritrea or other locations where they may be in danger. For example, Eritrean refugees who fled to Addis Ababa to avoid the fighting in Tigray have been rounded up and returned to camps in Tigray. This is unacceptable, as camps in Tigray are in the middle of an active conflict zone and have little access to food or medical supplies.”

Sexual violence used as ‘weapon of war’ in the ongoing conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia

Sexual violence is being used as a “weapon of war and humiliation” in Tigray, Ethiopia, according to a USAID-funded report. Many are saying this violence against women and children is rooted in ethnic cleansing. NBC News Foreign Correspondent Matt Bradley reports on the ongoing conflict. Warning: This report contains graphic accounts of sexual assault and may be disturbing.