Rights organization Amnesty International claims that Ethiopian Tigrayan fighters have gang-raped and assaulted women in the neighboring Amhara area.
All parties have been accused of violations throughout the year-long struggle between the central government and Tigrayan forces, according to Amnesty International.
Sexual abuse has been used as a weapon of war by the United Nations assistance head, he has declared.
“We take such charges very seriously and we are ready to launch an impartial inquiry,” said TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda, according to Reuters. “We have not yet seen the Amnesty report,” he added.
Requests for reply from government spokesperson Legesse Tulu and Amhara spokesman Gizachew Muleneh fell on deaf ears.
Amhara fighters from the region invaded Tigray in November to assist government troops when fighting broke out. Ethiopia’s northernmost district of Tigray was retaken by Tigrayan fighters in July, and they invaded Amhara in August.
According to a report by Amnesty International, sixteen women in the Amhara hamlet of Nifas Mewcha said that TPLF fighters raped them.
“The accounts we heard from survivors reveal horrible conduct by TPLF combatants that amount to war crimes, and perhaps crimes against humanity,” Amnesty’s secretary general Agnès Callamard said in a statement.
Several TPLF militants arrived to the residence of a 45-year-old lady, demanding coffee, she told Amnesty International.
After the guys yelled racial obscenities at her and demanded that she call her children, she stated she had sent them away.
“Somebody in the group had instructed the others to stop making fun of me. She is our mother; we are not required to hurt her, he said “She told Amnesty International. “After he was driven out of the house, three of them remained behind at my place. After that, they raped me in turn.'”
At least 74 women claimed to have been raped over the nine-day period covered by the Amnesty report, according to Amsal Alamrew, director of the Nifas Mewcha’s women and children affairs office. Many more victims may have been hesitant or humiliated to come forward, according to Amsal.
Even when tigrayan troops stole health facilities, only two of the women questioned by Amnesty sought care.
Many rape victims in Ethiopia’s Tigray region are unable to get treatment, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Survivors of sexual abuse are unable to get the post-rape treatment they need because the Ethiopian government is restricting assistance and crucial services, according to a study issued on Wednesday by the rights organization.
In Tigray, 80 percent of key medications have been depleted, and the majority of health facilities are no longer operational, according to a United Nations report released only a few days ago. Ethiopia has denied that it is preventing Tigray from receiving help.