Residents who came to pay their respects at the graves of their relatives executed and buried at the company site. The graves are marked with brown branches. May 2021. RFI/ Sébastien Németh

Published on: 26/05/2021 – 17:58 // Text by: RFI

[Rough translation of a report by Sébastien Nemeth of Radio France Internationale – RFI]

In Ethiopia, the conflict in Tigray continues. Our special correspondent was able to document a massacre perpetrated by Eritreans, who in this conflict are fighting alongside the Ethiopian federal army.

With our special correspondent in Goda, Sébastien Németh

Tigray, the northern region of Ethiopia, has been in the grip of violence since early November. Deadly clashes have been taking place between the former TPLF government on the one hand and the federal Ethiopian army on the other, assisted by Eritrean soldiers. The latter are suspected of multiple abuses against civilians. In Goda, the soldiers abducted people from the hamlets surrounding the Goda glass bottle factory. They executed them at the factory site.

Residents broke down in tears when they saw the graves of their relatives buried in the factory. 19 people are buried. The families accuse the Eritreans of executing them in early December. Hagos, 66, lost his three sons.

“The soldiers looted my house, took my children and shot them here. They forbade me to bury them for two weeks. We buried them on the spot because the bodies were too damaged. They had their lives ahead of them. I will never forgive. I don’t even look in the direction of Eritrea anymore.”

The families come to visit these graves every day. Kahsa is almost blind, but she looks at the place where two of her children, her brother and her nephew, are buried. Her voice chokes.

“They hit them and took them away. My children were everything to me. I am heartbroken. We still see the Eritreans passing by often. Every time we are terrorized. I don’t know if we can live normally again.”

Pieces of metal are twisting in the wind (?). The factory was completely looted and destroyed by the Eritreans. Gebrehiwot is one of the guards.

“The soldiers loaded everything they could onto trucks. Today, the factory is destroyed. We had more than 300 employees. This attack has brought the economy down and broken our families.”

Residents don’t have high expectations of ever getting justice. However, some hope that this crime will be known and that the site will one day be transformed into a memorial.

“The soldiers looted my house, took my children and shot them here. They forbade me to bury them for two weeks. We buried them on the spot because the bodies were too damaged. They had their lives ahead of them. I will never forgive. I don’t even look in the direction of Eritrea anymore.”