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Since the war in Tigray broke out in November after the local Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) waged a coordinated insurrection against the Ethiopian government, sources on the ground have documented several atrocities committed by the TPLF.

In recent weeks, sources recounted several refugee witnesses from Hitsats camp being shot at by TPLF-affiliated local Tigrayan militia and villagers.

While the Eritrean government is known to oppose these camps that became a magnet for its dissidents, Eritrean refugees have recently been caught up in the middle of both sides of the conflict since the outbreak of the war. Many of them have already died. As TPLF faced defeat at the hands of Ethiopian forces and their Eritrean allies, desperate Tigrayan fighters  pushed conspiracy theories that the innocent Eritrean refugees were “Shabiya” and brutally shot at them, according to Dr Paszkiewicz.

According to recent account, another group of refugees who fled from Hitsats camp, the local Tigrayan militia held a group of 40 refugees hostage. “Then they selected 10 refugees and told them to wear Eritrean army uniforms.” Afterwards, the militia men gave them “knives and told them to cut breasts of women from the group.” 

This independent account of TPLF-affiliated local militias using an Eritrean army uniform for sabotage purposes confirms previous reports of TPLF producing Ethiopian army and Eritrean army uniforms at its Almeda textile factory since the middle of 2020. Media outlets have also admitted their inability to independently verify if perpetrators of the atrocities are indeed Ethiopian and Eritrean forces, as claimed by TPLF’s media sources.

Some western media outlets have been accused of using manipulated information exclusively from pro-TPLF Tigrayan sources.

Historians on the Horn of Africa have noted, while the odds are against them this time, the strategies used by TPLF today are a mirror image of the Tigrayan insurgency of the 1980s. According to BBC and other media, several former members of the TPLF and whistleblowers have revealed how TPLF fighters staged actors and merchants to “fool” western aid workers. The explosive reports disclosed that up to 95 percent of money raised for the famine was stolen by TPLF leaders in the 1980s, leading to the death of hundreds of thousands of their own people – ethnic Tigrayans. Consequently, many independent observers believe the key to reducing further humanitarian crisis and death toll in Tigray today is the international community condemning the TPLF insurgents whose leaders have been emboldened by the success of their propaganda campaign influencing Western media.

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