NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Eritrean soldiers remain in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region and are killing civilians weeks after Ethiopia said the soldiers would leave, according to Amnesty International.
The United Nations Security Council is expected to meet Thursday on the situation in Tigray, where thousands of people have been killed and the United States has alleged ethnic cleansing in the western part of the region of 6 million people. The term refers to forcing a population from a region through expulsions and other violence, often including killings and rapes.
Citing several witnesses, Amnesty International said in a statement on Wednesday that Eritrean soldiers passing through the town of Adwa on Monday started shooting “unprovoked” at passers-by, killing at least three people and wounding at least 19.
Six of the wounded were in critical condition, a medical worker at the local referral hospital told the human rights group.
Amnesty’s regional director, Sarah Jackson, called the shooting “yet another unlawful attack by Eritrean troops on civilians in Tigray.”
The spokeswoman for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Billene Seyoum, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Abiy last month for the first time acknowledged publicly, after months of denials, that Eritrean soldiers were in Tigray. The United Nations secretary-general once said Abiy had “guaranteed” the Eritreans were not there.
Ethiopia early this month said the Eritrean soldiers had begun to leave.
But witnesses have told The Associated Press that the soldiers roamed freely in parts of Tigray, looting and killing, as they supported Ethiopian security forces and other allied fighters in pursuing the now-fugitive Tigray leaders. Eritrea’s government has long been an enemy of the Tigray leaders.
Deadly fighting continues in several parts of Tigray, as what began as a political dispute between Abiy’s government and the Tigray leaders who once dominated Ethiopia’s government for nearly three decades turned into war.