Fugitive Tigray chief reportedly speaks out after months

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The fugitive chief of Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray area has reportedly made his first public feedback in three months, urging the worldwide group to research alleged “genocide” and different abuses by forces together with these from neighboring Eritrea.

It was not instantly potential to confirm the audio feedback by Debretsion Gebremichael posted late Saturday by Tigray-allied media outlet Dimtsi Weyane. He has been on the run since shortly after preventing broke out in early November between Ethiopian and allied forces and people of the Tigray area who had dominated the nation’s authorities for practically three a long time.

However the feedback appeared to notice the current killings of different fugitive Tigray leaders. “Many have paid and plenty of are persevering with to pay the final word sacrifice,” Debretsion stated.

He urged Tigray residents to “proceed the wrestle” and vowed to do the identical in opposition to those that are “working with all their may to destroy our existence and identification.”

The feedback additionally alleged widespread homicide, rape, torture and intentional hunger. “They’re carrying away what they’ll and burning what stays,” he stated.

A spokeswoman for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed didn’t remark.

Abiy sidelined the Tigray leaders after taking energy in early 2018 and introducing political reforms that led to him being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. However his authorities and the now-fugitive Tigray one got here to treat one another as illegitimate, particularly after Ethiopia delayed its nationwide election final yr to mid-2021, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tigray battle continues largely in shadow. Some communications hyperlinks are severed, residents are scared to present particulars by cellphone and nearly all journalists are blocked. 1000’s of individuals have died.

Ethiopia’s authorities on Friday privately told Biden administration staffers that Tigray has “returned to normalcy” and greater than 1 million individuals had been reached with assist, however new witness accounts describe terrified residents hiding in bullet-marked properties and an unlimited rural space the place results of the preventing and food shortages are but unknown.

Final week the Biden administration has pressed Eritrea to “instantly” withdraw its troopers from Tigray, citing credible accounts of looting, sexual assault and different abuses. The Eritreans have been preventing alongside Ethiopian troops in opposition to the Tigray forces.

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