“Three of them raped me while my children were crying”
Gebeyanesh, a 30-year-old food seller in Nefas Meewcha, told Amnesty International she was repeatedly assaulted. The victims reported being insulted and referred to using degrading ethnic slurs.
According to a new report from Amnesty, 14 out of 16 women in a Tigray region of Ethiopia said they were gang-raped by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front — the TPLF.
“The testimonies we heard from survivors describe despicable acts by TPLF fighters that amount to war crimes, and potentially crimes against humanity,” Amnesty’s Secretary-General Agnes Callamard said.
“They defy morality or any iota of humanity.”
Gebeyanesh, a 30-year-old food seller in Nefas Meewcha, told Amnesty International she was repeatedly assaulted.
“Three of them raped me while my children were crying. My elder son is 10 and the other is nine years, they were crying when [the TPLF fighters] raped me,” she said.
Meskerem, 30, who belongs to the Amhara Semitic-speaking ethnic group, told Amnesty International that three TPLF fighters raped her and beat her with the butts of their guns.
“They were insulting me, calling me ‘donkey Amhara, you are strong, you can carry much more than this.’ I was unconscious for more than an hour,” she said.
The number of women who have been sexually assaulted is likely to be much higher. According to a local government desk officer for Women, Children and Youth Affairs, 71 women reported having been raped by TPLF fighters during the period in question, while the Federal Ministry of Justice puts the number at 73.
The Ethiopian government along with allies such as the neighbouring Eritrean government and Amhara regional forces went to war against Tigray on November 4, 2020. Victims report that most of the violence and rape comes from the Eritrean troops and Amhara forces from the neighbouring state of Amhara.
Medics on the ground confirmed that they have been seeing cases of women and girls who have experienced sexual abuse and other forms of torture.
In a story covered by Reuters, a young mother was trying to get home with food for her two children when soldiers pulled her off a minibus in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, which later led to 11-days of a nightmare.
She said, she was repeatedly raped by 23 soldiers who forced nails, rock and other items into her vagina, and threatened her with a knife.
A UN investigation into alleged atrocities in Ethiopia has found all sides committed grave abuses that may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes.
An earlier report by Amnesty International released in August also found troops fighting in support of the federal government to have committed widespread rape against women and girls.
Human Rights Watch on Wednesday said the government’s “effective siege” of Tigray is preventing victims of rape committed by warring parties from getting access to health care.
Olusegun Obasanjo, the African Union envoy for the Horn of Africa, said he will have a plan by the end of the week for negotiations. His first priority will be opening a humanitarian corridor in Tigray – home to six million people.
|Source: News Agencies|
Featured image credit: Africanews