Photo taken in a warehouse of the Haleka Moges company located in Mekoni locality, Tigray region. The company owned hundreds of livestock and produced animal feed. Site attacked by Amhara militiamen. May 2021. RFI/ Sébastien Németh

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

In Ethiopia, in less than two days, the United States, France, Great Britain and Canada have called for a ceasefire in Tigray. The conflict has resulted in thousands of deaths and considerable damage. Many infrastructures have been looted or destroyed. We report from the town of Mekoni, where a large agricultural enterprise was attacked at the beginning of the conflict.

With our special correspondent back from Mekoni, Sébastien Németh

The pens of the Haleka Moges company are empty. The 800 cows, the goats, the chickens, the machines… everything has been stolen or destroyed. The employees accuse Amhara militiamen, who have conquered Southern Tigray, of having attacked.

Owner Abadinu Gusa says: “They accused the company of belonging to the former government, but this is not true. We tried to protect ourselves with sticks. We stopped them for an hour. But they came back with too many people. We were overwhelmed. Soldiers were there, they refused to help us. About ten employees were injured. I think the Amharas did this to starve Tigray little by little.”

Some employees are still there. Ibra Khaday was a supervisor for two years. He too tried to protect the company, but to no avail: “We tried to fight. But they were armed. We were terrified and had to flee. Everyone was so happy to be working here. After the attack, I cried for days and days. It was like losing our own home.”

Today the business is no longer in operation, but remains a target for looters. A dozen guards have been recruited. Meresa patrols with his rifle to protect what can be protected: “They take advantage of the opportunity after the attack. They are interested in the metal and some of the parts that are left. They come at night with sticks and even guns. It happened to me and you have to be vigilant.”

The owner says that contacts saw the stolen animals and equipment moving around in the Amhara region. But he does not believe he will ever get them back.

The owner claims that contacts saw the stolen animals and equipment circulating in the Amhara area.But he doesn’t think he can get them back one day.

Photo taken in a warehouse of the Haleka Moges company located in Mekoni locality, Tigray region. The company owned hundreds of livestock and produced animal feed. Site attacked by Amhara militiamen. May 2021. RFI/ Sébastien Németh