refugees tell their stories

” I do not believe it ! VSis propaganda to reassure the population and encourage young people to contiue at s‘engage in cfiveis from l’armée federal », assure Muley Teshqger. Like 45,500 Ethiopians, this thirty-something fled the Tigray region, located in the north of the country, to seek refuge in neighboring Sudan. He refuses to admit the victory announced by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Saturday, November 28, over Mekele, the capital of this province with independence tendencies.

Keffiyeh on his head, this slender official climbs the winding path that leads from the Tekezé river to the village of Hamdayet. Below, a boat laden with women, men and children leaves the Ethiopian border village of Eldima.

Tigrayans, victims of “ethnic cleansing”

Some risked a return trip home, bringing back suitcases, bags of flour, clothes and box springs. Others have just left their homes, like Muley Teshqger’s uncle, who arrived on November 30. “The Amhara” Fano “militia blocked the road leading to the border, explains Muley Teshqger, who joined Hamdayet five days earlier. My uncle lied to them so he could get through. Last week, the soldiers Ethiopians barred the’accès. They hold us back for avoid that we expose their actions in the minternational edias ».

For him, the Tigrayans are victims of a “Ethnic cleansing. S‘it swas acting‘a simple problemth policy, it is rwould rule by negotiations and not by bombardments », he assures. A feeling shared by all the Tigrayan refugees encountered.

Survivors of the bombing of the city of Humera

Sitting in the shade of a black tarpaulin, a Tigrayan colonel from the federal army. Wounded, he did not directly participate in the government offensive in his region. While visiting his family in Humera, he himself found himself caught in the bombardments of the Federal Army. “ She opened fire on November 9. The next day, missiles have oneit’s tirfrom Eritrea. And I fled to Sudan three days later, when Amhara militias began to cleanse the town of Tigrayans. “

Since then, the man remains without news of four of his seven children. Enkubahri Berhanu shares this ordeal. The 24-year-old accounting graduate had just given birth to her twins when Humera hospital was bombed. “We have passedtwo days to hide in the forestand then we got togetherapartés for escape the soldiers ethiopians, details her husband, Brhanukiros Berhanu. We stayedis without news lone of the‘other for ten days. Jsaw a lot of dead people, and people with a hand or a leg hitée, but I could not say how many. »

The Berhanu also evoke a “genocide” against the Tigrayans, and qualify the announcement of the capture of Mekele as “Propaganda aimed at to psychologically reach the Tigrto encourage them to give up ».

The reign of rumor

Lost sentence for Muley Teshqger, the official at the keffiyeh: “The Front de libération du Tigris remportfights since 1970. This group begané with five pistols and ended up contrremove all the‘Ethiopia. ” Control lost in 2018, at least, with the appointment as prime minister of Abiy Ahmed, an Oromo – the most numerous ethnic group in Ethiopia along with the Ahmaras.

For the time being, the cut in telecommunications in Tigray still prevents precise monitoring of the advance of federal troops in the region. It is also impossible to confirm the conclusions of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission attributing to the Tigray militias the massacre of 600 civilians in Mai-Kadra, in the west of the province. No more than to give reality to the rumor, which circulates among the refugees, according to which the young Tigrayan boys are systematically targeted by the Amhara militias in order to eradicate, in the future, any presence of this people in Ethiopia.

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45,500 Ethiopian refugees in Sudan

Between November 7 and 29, UNHCR registered 45,500 Ethiopian refugees at the Sudanese border, with a peak of 6,815 arrivals on November 10. Almost half are children.

Seven out of ten refugees have reached the border town of Hamdayet, three out of ten that of Ludgi (170 kilometers to the south). They were then taken to transit camps located in Hamdayet and “Village Eight” (44 kilometers from Ludgi), respectively.

For ten days, the Hamdayet refugees have been redirected to the permanent Um Rakuba camp, west of the border. The Sudanese authorities plan to open a second permanent camp, in Al Tanideba.

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