US looks into reports of atrocities in Ethiopia’s Tigray region

We are, of course, looking into these reports. We have taken close note of them and we’ll continue to pay close attention,” Price said
211
Ethiopian refugees who fled Ethiopia's Tigray conflict arrive by bus to the entrance of Um Rakuba refugee camp in Sudan's eastern Qadarif state, on Dec. 11, 2020. [YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images

The US State Department said on Monday that it is investigating allegations of human rights violations and massacres in Ethiopia's Tigray region.

According to US State Department spokesperson Ned Price, the US is "gravely worried" about claims last week by CNN and the BBC of an Ethiopian military massacre in the area.

“We are, of course, looking into these reports. We have taken close note of them and we’ll continue to pay close attention,” Price said.

“We strongly condemn the killings, the forced removals, the sexual assaults, the other human rights abuses that multiple organizations have reported,” Price added, declining to say who the US believed was responsible.

Ethiopia's Foreign Ministry has announced that a joint inquiry into suspected human rights abuses with external observers will begin shortly.

Ethiopia, Africa's second-most populated region, is grappling with a number of flashpoints where ethnic rivalries over land, influence, and wealth have erupted ahead of June's national elections.

Price also praised Ethiopia's foreign ministry's announcement that Eritrean troops would leave Tigray, calling the move a significant step toward de-escalation in the area.

Despite scores of eyewitness reports, Eritrea and Ethiopia refuted the involvement of Eritrean troops in Tigray for months. On Friday, the G7 nations, headed by the United States, called for an immediate, voluntary, and verifiable removal of Eritrean troops, accompanied by a diplomatic process agreeable to all Ethiopians.

Price told reporters,
“The immediate and complete withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Tigray will be an important step forward in de-escalating the conflict and restoring peace and regional stability”.