Kidnappings, looting cited in Ethiopia’s Tigray after truce break down
After a year of intermittent fighting, Ethiopia has returned to the scene where tens of thousands of people lost their lives during a long-running civil war.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in Tigray brokered the long-awaited end of fighting in the embattled border region of Oromiya and was accused of facilitating at least two large-scale abductions, as well as looting.
The TPLF, which took over in April after a rebel group, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) withdrew from the country in October, is based in Addis Ababa and is dominated by the Oromo people, who make up half of the population of Ethiopia.
Amnesty International has accused the TPLF and the OLF of forcibly removing hundreds of thousands of Oromo civilians from their homes in Oromiya and later detaining tens of thousands of people along the border, often for weeks, without formal charge or trial, or the presence of witnesses or lawyers.
“It has become a source of concern for people in Oromiya that the TPLF and the OLF are known to be involved in abducting hundreds of thousands of people and detaining them without charge,” said Simon O’Connor, Amnesty International’s emergencies lawyer, speaking on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the European Union’s Transatlantic Commission on Human Rights in Brussels.
“The people of Oromiya are understandably concerned that any such process could be used to justify the forced removal of hundreds of thousands of people in Oromiya to further weaken the peace, security and protection of the people living in Oromiya.”
The TPLF and the OLF are currently engaged in a two-stage peace process that involves mediation from Ethiopia’s government, which has accused the rebel groups of widespread human rights abuses throughout recent years. The TPLF has repeatedly denied allegations of killings and widespread human rights violations in Oromiya.
The negotiations have seen a significant change in policy from the Ethiopian government, with it recently announcing it would withdraw its forces from