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Exiled Tigrayan leader warns of genocide by Ethiopian and Eritrean governments

PRESIDENT of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) Debretsion Gebremichael accused the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments of genocide as he demanded an independent probe into mass killings in the region today.

In a rare interview with CNN, the exiled political leader said: “They are killing our people in this country, they are killing children, all ages of the population and they are conducting rape.

“All sorts of acts of genocide have been committed in Tigray. So, the most important thing is that an investigation must be conducted.”

Reports of widespread atrocities have continued, with thousands of people believed to have been killed since an Ethiopian government offensive on the restive northern Tigray region began on November 4.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has ignored calls for peace negotiations from Tigrayan organisations and refuses to withdraw troops from the region, which has remained largely cut off to humanitarian organisations and journalists since military operations began. 

Addis Ababa has hit out against claims of human-rights abuses, accusing foreign governments of interference in its internal affairs.

“It should be clear that such matters are the sole responsibility of the Ethiopian government, which as a sovereign nation is responsible to deploy the necessary security structures in ensuring the rule of law within all corners of its borders,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

But last week Amnesty International reported that hundreds of of civilians had been massacred by Eritrean soldiers in the town of Axum in November, amounting to “a series of human-rights and humanitarian law violations.”

Ethiopia and Eritrea have consistently denied the presence of outside forces in Tigray, but this has been contradicted by those that have fled the area and reports from UN officials.

“We want to have peace in this region, in this country, so we want [the US] to continue to push [for the withdrawal] of invader forces from Tigray to stop the atrocities, genocide and destruction,” Mr Gebremichael said.

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