UN puts Abiy Ahmed on notice over atrocities in Tigray
NAIROBI, Kenya - Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will be subjected to investigations, the United Nations has said, amid pressure from various groups, including members of the international community, who accuse him of engineering genocide in the Tigray region.
For the past eight months, the United Nations has been monitoring atrocities in the Tigray region, with human rights groups accusing the Ethiopian administration of plotting to exterminate Tigrayans in the country over a political grudge that has existed for years.
The UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said the global body is "deeply disturbed" by reports of continued violations including executions in Tigray as elections kicked off in Ethiopia. This is the first time the UN is coming out "strongly" over the Tigray conflict.
She added that a long-awaited joint investigation into the alleged genocide should be ready by August. A number of organizations, including the African Union are investigating alleged genocide in the Tigray region, which has left thousands dead and others displaced.
Already, the United States and the UK have issued visa restrictions for top officials from Ethiopia and Eritrea over the Tigray conflict, but the names are yet to be published. However, it's believed those affected are mainly military generals from the two nations.
The Eritrea troops have continued to occupy Tigray in pursuit of Tigray People's Liberation Front [TPLF] fighters now called Tigray Defense Forces [TDF] but have been linked to massive violation of human rights including but not limited to mass murders and rape.
In a rejoinder, Ethiopia's PM Abiy Ahmed denied claims that the troops from ENDF and those from Eritrea are subjecting the Tigray community to hunger by cutting supply routes. According to the United Nations, over 350,000 people are facing famine and starvation.
ENDF troops first launched an operation at Tigray in November 2020 when the TPLF was accused of raiding the Northern Command. But a number of rights groups insist civilians have borne the brunt of the war, which analysts say may persist for a couple of months.
Abiy Ahmed has been accused of waging war within his country, even as some critics questioned his Nobel Peace Prize victory in 2019. Since winning the lucrative Prize, Ethiopia has been dealing with a litany of challenges, including the escalating ethnic cleansing, especially in Oromia and Amhara.
On Monday, Ethiopia went to elections which PM Abiy Ahmed described as "peaceful and credible" just after polls closed. Most parts of the country including the Tigray region did not take part in the voting, with the electoral commission postponing them to September.
It is widely expected that Abiy's Prosperity Party would win the polls given that major opposition parties boycotted. The Tigray crisis has tainted Ahmed's reputation, with the international community now putting him on notice over crimes against humanity.