Tigrayan refugees say they are victims of expropriation of militias

On the run from the fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray province, thousands of refugees – 38,000 according to the UNHCR – continue to flee to Sudan. In parallel with the offensive led by the troops of the regular army, they say they were victims of the Amharas, the neighboring ethnic group of the Tigrayans. Militias and armed groups wanted to allocate their land.

From our special correspondent, Eliott Brachet

In the Hashaba camp, it only takes a glance to see so many refugees are farmers. Many tractors are parked next to the temporary shelters. “I fled on my tractor because I saw people in the village being massacred, young people were cut in the throat, women were raped,” said Mekonen Tigabo, who owned four hectares of sorghum in Mai-Kadra. Fannos did it ”.

Fanno in Ethiopia are historically farmers who take up arms. Today, “Fanno” also refers to groups of young nationalists Amharas. For the Mekons, they had become more and more threatening. “These Amara gangs say that all the land that stretches to the Tekezé River is theirs,” he explains. They have been saying this for a long time. But this has intensified since Abiy Ahmed was elected. He pressured them to claim these territories. There was no conflict between us before ”.

Ethnic cleansing

A little further on, another farmer, Gebregziabher Gebremichael, says that he has also abandoned his crops. “For this season, we had finished harvesting sesame, all that was left was sorghum,” he explains. But we did not have time, they take everything. Fannos has declared war on the country for the Tigrayans. Being a tigray has become a crime in their eyes. Their goal is to clear this region of all migrants. “

The region bordering the river Tekezé is known for its fertile land. Today, control of this land has become a strife between the Tigrayans and the Amharas. The fighting continues in Ethiopia, in the Tigray region. Federal troops have begun the siege of the city of Mekele, the capital of the province of Tigray and the fortress of the TPLF (Front for the Liberation of the People of Tigray). Thoughts were deployed pending the bombing of the city, the spokesman for the Ethiopian army, which issued an ultimatum to civilians, asked them to leave Mekele. For its part, the TPLF assured that its forces were on and had begun digging ditches.

► Read also: Conflict in Tigray: fighting continues in the absence of humanitarian aid


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