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April 13, 2021
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Ethiopia’s message to the International Community

The International Community should not be misled by inaccurate accounts that do not capture the reality in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, says government

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The situation in the northern part of Ethiopia has been making headlines in international media for several weeks now. In most cases the coverage paints the Ethiopian government in a negative light in connection with the conflict in the Tigray region, the government calls it law enforcement operation, of Ethiopia. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia on Thursday released a statement encouraging the international community not to be misled by reports inundating the international media, as reported by Voice of America Amharic service. 

The statement advised the International community not to fall prey to what it called TPLF propaganda campaigns channelled through reputable international media outlets. However,the statement did not name names. 

Earlier this week, the US state department issued a statement saying that it will look into reports of human rights abuse in the Tigray region. It was informed by CNN reports of alleged summary execution in the region.  A video footage published by CNN purportedly showed men in Ethiopian army uniform executing individuals that appeared to be unarmed. 

On Wednesday, the Ethiopian Defense Force responded to the allegation that the world should not be misled with doctored video footage. Head of indoctrination in the army, Mag. Gen. Mohammed Tessema, claimed that Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) deliberately used the Ethiopian army uniform to produce a propaganda video. He added that the TPLF committed the crime. 

The statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia on Thursday said that the rush to accuse the Ethiopian government is intended to cover verified massacres like Maikadra which was committed by the TPLF. More than 600 ethnic Amhara civilians were ruthlessly massacred in Maikadra town soon after the TPLF forces lost the war they triggered in early November when they attacked several bases of the northern commands of the Ethiopian Defense Force. 

The reports appearing in international media, said the statement, paint the Federal government as responsible for everything that happened in Tigray while making the TPLF appear like a victim. The TPLF itself has admitted that it took what it called Blitzkrieg attack on the Ethiopian army on the night of November 4, 2020. 

Furthermore, the Ethiopian government said that TPLF supporters and the international media (unnamed) have been attempting to conceal what it called unimaginable crimes of TPLF committed in the past three decades. 

However, the statement admitted that civilian casualties are unfortunate in a conflict situation. Yet, it was also said that the government was fighting with a force (TPLF) that used civilians as human shields and hid in the community , and launched attacks from there. 

The government also claimed that it has demonstrated its commitment to investigate claims of human rights violations in the Tigray region.  It cited the agreement between Ethiopian Human  Rights Commission (EHRC) and the United Nations Human Rights Commission to jointly investigate the human rights allegations in the region. 

Selective international Media coverage 

International media outlets and human rights organizations have been criticized by politicized Ethiopians that are active as activists on social media. 

The TPLF started the war on November 4 by attacking army bases in the region when soldiers were in their sleep. Executed hundreds of soldiers and looted the arsenal.  On November 9, over 600 civilians were massacred in Maikadra by youth groups that TPLF organized (they are called Samri). 

Outside the Tigray region of Ethiopia, a non-stop massacre targeting ethnic  Amhara has been going on in the Benishangul Gumuz and Oromo regions of Ethiopia. 

But all it is hard to find reports in the international media about those tragic stories. Looks like the appears on major media outlets are those from well-connected groups to the power center via lobbyists. The TPLF has the financial resources to do that and the result is visible. The most criminal political group that was known for three decades in connection with human rights abuse in Ethiopia is now emerging as a victim – as the media outlets set the agenda that way. 

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