HAMADAYET, Sudan (AP) – Ethiopia’s prime minister on Friday issued a “final notice” to leaders fleeing the country’s war-torn Tigris region, saying they must surrender peacefully to avoid “severe punishment” and “the misfortune of their people”. to prevent
At the same time, Prime Minister Abi Ahmed urged hundreds of thousands of untold thousands of ethnic Tigris who had fled their communities during the fighting in the past four months to return home within a week to resume “normal life.” Abi said in a statement that some civilians had taken up arms, perhaps under threat of force, but that they were “not the main culprits.”
The new warning came as people described the growing presence of Ethiopian forces in the area where the Tigris fled the region, crossing the border into Sudan, a remote town in Hamdayet. Ethiopian Allied forces have reportedly blocked the passage of people for months, despite more than 60,000 reaching Sudan.
Abi’s new statement does not say what exactly will happen if the political and military leaders who fled the Tigray do not show up. It reminds them to “do their part, learning from the devastation and damage that has taken place so far” and prevent further bloodshed.
No one knows how many thousands of civilians or fighters were killed in the months of political tensions Ab by the Abiy կառավարության և Tigray leaders, who once dominated the Ethiopian government, exploded in war in November. The region is largely cut off from the world, with few journalists allowed, and only now are steps being taken to allow the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Tigray to investigate the allegations.
Meanwhile, civilians were injured. Witnesses in Hamadayet told the Associated Press about the large-scale looting and killings by soldiers from neighboring Eritrea, a longtime enemy of Tigray, accused of collaborating with Ethiopia in the conflict. The Ethiopian government has denied their presence.
Witnesses also described forces in neighboring Amhara, another ally of the Ethiopian government in the war, deprived them of their property and forced them out of their homes.
There is very little hope for Hamdayet refugees to go home or even return, no matter what the Prime Minister is urging them to do.
“There is no point in going back,” Belenesh Beyene, 58, told the AP as her children and grandson took refuge in a rough straw house to keep dust out.
He said their home in the Dansha district of the Tigris region was seized by members of the Amhara youth militia, and when he spoke to friends this week, they said they were also leaving, tired of the death threats from the Tigris.
The Ethiopian government denies allegations of ethnic cleansing, including by the US government. But Witness humanitarian workers described scenes when the Ethiopian federal authorities were unlikely to be present or standing watching the Tigers being targeted.
In order for Sudan to travel safely, Belainesh said he was hiding his national tiger identity by speaking Amharic.
“I do not know why they are doing this,” he said of Ethiopia and its allies. “It’s a nightmare.”