[Picture] View of the village of Tuhuli [Tikul], about 30 kilometers west of Mekelle, the regional capital of Tigray, Ethiopia, May 2021. RFI/Sébastien Németh
Published on : 17/05/2021 – 04:28
A new series of abuses has been reportedly perpetrated by the Ethiopian army in Tigray. The conflict between the federal army and the former TPLF regional government has already resulted in thousands of deaths since November. Both sides are accused of committing crimes against the population. Our special correspondent, Sébastien Németh, went to Tikul, a village about 30 km west of the regional capital Mekelle. The residents were reportedly subjected to a brutal attack by the federal army last Tuesday and Wednesday.
With our special correspondent in Tuhuli, Sébastien Németh
Residents speak of a 24-hour ordeal. The soldiers arrived in large numbers. Perhaps several hundred. They would have gone door to door, beating and robbing those who opened their doors. Tedros, 39 years old, was seriously injured in the eye.
“Six soldiers broke down the door. They asked for my identity, took my money and beat me up. One of them tried to strangle me, another beat my eye with his boots. I ran away while they counted the money they stole from me.”
But the soldiers also attacked women. The number of victims is still unknown, but one nurse speaks of at least 20 rapes. Azadamara [Azmera], 45, is in tears as she recounts the hell three soldiers put her through.
“They raped me one by one. They tried to strangle me and hit my genitals. It went on for four hours. They accused me of being the mother of rebels. Today, my body and mind are broken. “
Shame and social pressure prevent many victims from coming forward. A health worker, Sister Tayir is based locally and has never seen such a tragedy. “Sexual desire is a normal thing. But this is different. Serial, systematic rapes, to me it’s hate, to destroy the dignity of Tigrayans.”
For some victims, the sexual abuse is intended to sterilize women and prevent the emergence of a new generation of Tigrayans, who would seek to avenge their parents.