An investigation found that rebel forces systematically destroyed farming communities and indiscriminately shelled civilian areas in a series of horrific revenge attacks in Ethiopia’s Amhara region.
“They are out for revenge and will gladly attack civilian areas,” said Amir Gezahegn, who is one of about 200,000 ethnic Amhara Ethiopians who have been displaced by recent fighting. “It wasn’t even safe in our homes, they used artillery against entire neighborhoods.”
Half a dozen fleeing IDPs from several towns and villages in the Amhara region said that Tigrayan fighters indiscriminately shelled their communities in the North Wollo district between late July and early August.
Some said the fighters also went from house to house, killing people and setting every home alight.
“The Ethiopian army fled much of the areas so there was no one to protect the towns. In some areas, farmers took up arms. In response, [Tigrayan forces] attacked the farms, shooting at people and setting their homes on fire,” one man, who asked to remain anonymous, explained.
The Telegraph has corroborated one of these incidents at a farming community near the Agamsa town, about 10 km from the Afar regional border, with satellite imagery analysis from DX Open Network, a UK-based research, and analysis organization.
Imagery shows that the village is completely destroyed, with homes reduced to ashes. DXON counted at least fifty tukul homes, a type of traditional house, likely home to hundreds of people, which had been destroyed by fire-based attacks.
“Satellite imagery has revealed the intentional burning of a rural village near Agamsa town in the Kobo Robit (of the Northern Wollo district) area of the Amhara region,” DXON said in a written statement.
“There are no apparent indicators of fighting or any valid military targets, meaning that civilians may have been attacked in contravention of international humanitarian law.”
One of the survivors said that the villages were razed to the ground after a group of local farmers fired on Tigrayan positions.
The Telegraph was able to establish that fighting took place before the atrocity by geolocating footage that surfaced on pro-ethnic Amhara Telegram channels on August 1st.
The footage shows a posse of lightly armed farmers firing at distant Tigrayan positions from a river about 10 km away from the razed village in Agamsa.
Estimates among interviewees for the death toll across the affected communities range from a few dozen to as many as a hundred. These figures could not be independently authenticated, because of communications outages in the Amhara region.
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