Amnesty finds Eritrean troops 'committed war crimes' in Tigray after peace deal

© Tiksa Negeri, Reuters

Eritrean troops allied with Ethiopia's government "committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity" in Tigray, raping, enslaving and executing civilians for months after the signing of a peace agreement, Amnesty International said Tuesday.

Dubbed the "North Korea" of Africa, Eritrea was sanctioned by the United States in 2021 after sending troops into Tigray in support of Ethiopia's federal forces, with its soldiers accused of murder, rape and looting during the two-year war.

The deal inked in November 2022 between Ethiopia's government and Tigrayan rebels called for the withdrawal of foreign forces from the region.

But Eritrea was not a party to the agreement and its troops continue to be present in border areas, according to residents.

Amnesty interviewed 49 people in May and June in the border districts of Mariam Shewito and Kokob Tsibah, corroborating their testimonies with satellite imagery as well as the accounts of social workers, medical experts and government officials.

"Despite the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, atrocities against civilians in Tigray continued with Eritrean soldiers subjecting women to horrific abuse including rape, gang rape and sexual enslavement, while civilian men were extrajudicially executed," said Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty's East and Southern Africa director.

"The serious violations documented in this report amount to war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity," the rights watchdog said.

Some women were raped inside an Eritrean military camp while others were attacked and kept prisoner in their own homes.

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