Ethiopia: Survivors Narrate How TPLF Gang-raped, Looted And Assaulted Women.
A recent report published by Amnesty International has uncovered shocking atrocities committed by TPLF rebels in the Amhara region in the ongoing Tigray war.
"The testimonies we heard from survivors describe despicable acts by TPLF fighters that amount to war crimes, and potentially crimes against humanity. They defy morality or any iota of humanity" the report stated.
Sixteen women from the town of Nifas Mewcha in Ethiopia’s Amhara region who spoke to the organization, say they were raped by fighters from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) during the group’s attack on the town in mid-August 2021.
Those who survived the attack described being raped at gunpoint, robbed, and subjected to physical and verbal assaults by TPLF fighters, who also destroyed and looted medical facilities in the town.
The report further stated that TPLF took control of Nifas Mewcha, in Amhara’s Giant District, for nine days between 12 and 21 August 2021. During this period, 70 women reported to authorities that they were raped in Nifas Mewcha.
According to survivors, the attacks began as soon as the TPLF took control of the town on 12 August 2021. The women all identified the perpetrators as TPLF fighters based on their accents and the ethnic slurs they used against victims, as well as their overt announcements that they were TPLF.
Bemnet, a 45-year-old Nifas Mewcha resident, told Amnesty International that four TPLF fighters came to her house on the evening of 14 August and demanded she makes them coffee before three of them gang-raped her.
Gebeyanesh, a 30-year-old food seller in the town, told Amnesty International:
“It is not easy to tell you what they did to me. They raped me. 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. The fighters did whatever they wanted and left. They also assaulted me physically and took shiro and berbere [local food items]. They slapped and kicked me. They were cocking their guns as if they are going to shoot me.”
Hamelmal, 28, sells enjera in the town. She told Amnesty International that four TPLF fighters raped her during the night of 13 August at her home, while her daughter watched.
Frehiwot said she was gang-raped several times by TPLF fighters between 12 and 20 August, and that one fighter stole her phone and cash.
Many of the survivors are reported to have developed anxiety and depression since the rape.
The Amhara regional government officials say that Nifas Mewcha residents, including 54 rape survivors, had received livelihood support since the attack. They also said they are preparing to restock medical equipment and other supplies to looted hospitals and facilities in the region and to provide counselling and psychosocial services for the survivors.
Meanwhile, the Ethiopian government has also been charged to bring those suspected of criminal responsibility to justice in open, accessible civilian courts in full compliance with international standards for fair trial without recourse to the death penalty and reparations for the survivors.