Horrific video footage has emerged that appears to show members of the Ethiopian military committed a massacre in which at least 15 unarmed men were rounded up and shot in the back of the head in the war-torn area of Tigray.
Their dead bodies can be seen scattered across the mountainous terrain as the perpetrators fire at them again to make sure there are no survivors.
The victims are then rounded up and hurled off the side of a ridge near the town of Mahibere Dego, in the northern Tigray region, it is said.
At the beginning of the video, dozens of unarmed men are lined up, surrounded by soldiers.
At the beginning of the video, dozens of unarmed men are lined up, surrounded by soldiers
Evidence suggests that the killers were wearing Ethiopian army uniforms when the senseless killings took place, according to research from BBC Africa Eye and CNN.
In the video, they can hear Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, speak and say, ‘We must not liberate these people. Not even one of them should be spared.
“We need to get this on video, how these people die,” says another man.
The group of defenseless men are then led to a cliff edge where they are shot in the back of the head.
The soldiers then go to see if all the victims are dead – and you can watch them shoot the wounded men who were still alive.
The soldiers can be heard shouting ‘dead, dead, dead. Shoot him, shoot him. Shoot him or do you want me to come and do it ‘while standing over the victims.
They can also be heard mocking the dead. One said, ‘It would have been great if there was gas to burn these people. Burn their bodies like the Indians do. ‘
The soldiers then go to see if all the victims are dead – and you can watch them shoot the wounded men who were still alive
The mass murder is just the latest terror story to emerge from the Ethiopian Tigray conflict since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced a government offensive against regional leaders in November last year.
In February of this year, a report was released containing satellite images allegedly of mass graves containing hundreds of bodies from a massacre in an ancient Ethiopian city home to the Ark of the Covenant.
In the latest massacre, analysts believe the attackers in the video were members of the Ethiopian military because of the stitching of the country’s flag on their uniform and the distinctive black pattern of the clothing.
The uniforms seem to match those of the Ethiopian National Defense Force.
According to analysts from Amnesty International in collaboration with CNN and experts from Bellingcat and Newsy who worked with BBC Africa Eye, the site was determined to be near Mahibere Dego using geolocation tracking and 3D modeling software.
Analysis using the SunCalc tool also suggests the murder took place in the late afternoon.
The victims are then rounded up and thrown off the side of a ridge near the town of Mahibere Dego, in northern Tigray, it is said.
A man, by the pseudonym Dawit, told CNN that he believes one of the men in the video was his younger brother Alula – another pseudonym.
Dawit said Ethiopian soldiers had arrived in Mahibere Dego and dragged young men, including his 23-year-old brother, from their homes.
Dawit was able to escape after the soldiers allegedly shot him, but he broke his leg in the process by running across a rocky path.
He said he hasn’t seen his brother since – and believes he is one of the men in the video. Dawit still hopes his brother somehow survived the attack.
Since we have not seen his body with our own eyes and buried our brother ourselves, it is difficult for us to believe that he is dead. It feels like he is still alive, we cannot accept his death, ”Dawit said.
‘We will always remember him.
The massacre is just the latest terror story to emerge from the Tigray conflict in Ethiopia since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced a government offensive against regional leaders in November last year.
Satellite images have been analyzed by Amnesty International in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region to bring together last November’s bloody events in the ancient city of Axum. The above shows signs of newly disturbed earth near a church believed to have buried many people after a November massacre, ‘likely a crime against humanity’
“I am extremely sad, it is very difficult to express my bitter sorrow, there are not enough words to express my sorrow because I am losing my brother this way.”
The first unverified images of the massacre appeared on social media earlier this month after Tigrai Media House (TMH) aired the poignant video.
Stalin Gebreselassie, a TMH journalist, said he had received the footage through a source in Tigray who said the video was filmed by an Ethiopian soldier turned whistleblower on his cell phone.
‘This crime is so blatant that it’s really worth questioning the content properly to make sure we can 100% leave a mark on it to say we know where this happened and we know this has happened. And we’ve done our best to do that, ”said Sam Dubberley, the acting head of Amnesty International’s Crisis Evidence Lab.
‘The fact that it is a perpetrator who did this [filmed the video] shows a sense of impunity that they can get away with it. And I think it is very important that the perpetrators of these crimes be held accountable by the Ethiopian government … for what appears to be extrajudicial killings. ‘
Laetitia Bader, director of Human Rights Watch of the Horn of Africa, told the BBC, “We see what look like unarmed detained men being executed,” she said.
“This is definitely an incident that requires further investigation because what we are seeing here in these videos could amount to war crimes.”
The Ethiopian government told CNN in a statement Friday that “ social media posts and claims cannot be taken as evidence, regardless of whether Western media reports it or not. ”
They added that the government “has indicated that it is open to independent investigations in the Tigray region.”