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.

Bloomberg: Ethiopia’s Amhara Seizes Disputed Territory Amid Tigray War

Forces from the Amhara region took control of several areas in Tigray after backing federal troops that staged an incursion into its neighbor’s territory, said Gizachew Muluneh, a spokesman for the Amhara government. Fighting has continued in Tigray since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered the army to retaliate after forces loyal to Tigray’s ruling party attacked a military camp in November.

The land “was taken by force and now has been returned by force,” Gizachew said. “Although it wasn’t our original objective, it happened by default.”