The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) says at least 600 civilians have been killed in a massacre in the town of Maikadra, a small town located in the western Tigray region, confirming killings first reported by human rights group Amnesty International.
Two weeks ago, an attack on the town of Maikadra was carried out by the local security forces and an informal Tigrayan youth group called ‘Samri’, EHRC said in the report. Sources including eyewitnesses, families of the victims, and members of a committee formed to bury the dead “estimate a minimum of 600 have been killed and say the number is likely to be higher still,” said EHRC.
According to the report, the youth group with the collusion of retreating local security forces “stabbed, strangled, and bludgeoned people of non-Tigrayan ethnic origin, and especially of Amhara and Wolkait origin”. The commission described the incident as “a premeditated and carefully coordinated grave violation of human rights.”
The commission said the “grave human rights violations” may amount to “crimes against humanity and war crimes”. The full extent of the evidence and elements of the crime will be examined in detail in the full report, it said.
The commission also said that although the “Samri”, a Tigrayan youth group was involved in this heinous crime, other residents, who were Tigrayan themselves, helped several of them survive by shielding them in their homes, in churches, and farms.
Tigray’s leader Debretsion Gebremichael has previously denied any responsibility for the killings. He said that the accusations were “baseless” and he called for an inquiry by an independent party into reports.