Hundreds of civilians have fled Kobo, a town in north Wollo, after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) fighters attack last week that left “many” dead. The TPLF fighters attacked the town of Kobo and surrounding rural towns of Wollo last week, which killed several people according to residents who fled the area, BBC Amharic reported. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on Sunday said it had received reports of allegations of deliberate attack against civilians in the area.
Residents said the TPLF fighters carried out a series of summary executions in house-to-house searches using heavy weapons, though it was difficult to determine the exact number of civilians killed in the attack. The Voice of America Amharic Service that talked to survivors of the attack reported the death toll could be as high as 600 persons.
Witnesses interviewed by the BBC said they were in the area at the time of the attack and are currently in refugee camps in Dessie. They said several hundred civilians escaped from Kobo and neighboring villages to the south for safety.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said in a statement on Sunday that it was “alarmed by disturbing attacks against civilians in Kobo town and surrounding rural towns by TPLF fighters including shelling on civilian areas, house to house search and killings, looting and destruction of civilian infrastructure.
The TPLF has not yet commented on the alleged attack.
Ato Abebe Alemu and Kedir Ali who managed to flee for their lives to Dessie from the recent attack in Kobo town which claimed the lives of many civilians describe what they saw happening since TPLF took control of the area. Kedir who run a business in the town says since the town fell to the TPLF for a period of a month, the occupiers limited themselves to looting and destroying government institutions and residents houses but didn’t target humans.
When electricity line was cut off, Kedir says they even helped the population get mill services by providing generator from the Kobo Girana project but this lasted for just five days. The new leader of the army had the generator removed.
“The replaced army head arrived on Friday, September 9, and on the morrow headed with his squad to the rural kebeles of Aramo and Gedemeyu, where they opened fire, asking the villagers to hand down their arms,” explains Kedir.
Among those killed was a resident of Arama kebele, Kassa Kebede, who was next to his son, according to Kedir who allegedly observed the incident. His 13-year-old son was also killed as he approached his father’s corpse, he said.
One survivor of the attack who is being treated at nearby town told Deutsche Welle Amharic by telephone that a large number of people had been killed in the attack, which occured on September 9, 2021. “They (The TPLF forces) had been deployed in a rural town about 12 kilometers outside the town of Kobo and had waged war simultaneously on two fronts. When they were defeated and they arrived in Kobo town in a caravan of 21 heavy trucks with trailer. And as if by the demon of collective vengeance, they went on a shooting rampage,” he said.