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Curfew, a time to kill Tigrayans: The story of a mechanic, Berhe Reda of Aksum

The bullet that hit Berhe entered on his left side and exited on his right side, destroying both of his eyes, breaking his nose’s bones and his upper left jaw to such an extent that his entire left jaw was just hanging loosely.



On 25 January 2021, Berhe Reda (35), a mechanic, waved goodbye to his wife, his daughter [5] and his baby boy and went to his newly established garage. There is no business in Aksum, but he just found the idea of going to work reassuring than spending the day at home. His mechanical garage was new, established before the war. His friend, an eletrical engineer also works in the garage.

Berhe spent the day at his garage, and around 6 PM Berhe and his friend were on their way to their houses. They reached his friend’s house which is at the back of Berhe’s. A soldier in Ethiopian uniform came and demanded “identity card’, the only word he said. The friend took out his identity card and Berhe thrusted his hand to his pocket to take out his too. At this moment, another soldier shot at Berhe at point-blank range, Berhe fell immediately and the friend frantically ran and jumped into a sewerage. He survived. Berhe remembers only the gunshot and nothing after that.

Berhe Reda was hit by a bullet. He fell on the ground and spent the night lying there and soaked in blood. Since it was past curfew time, nobody could dare to come out for that means being shot at. But all neighbors heard the gunshot and the cries of pain at night. But the soldiers were there the whole night making sure nobody comes out. Berhe says sometime in the night, he was a bit conscious and he felt the coldness of the night. He moved his hand to feel his face and he realized he was disfigured and was socking in blood. He tried to get up (to no avail), and call for help, but he does not know whether it was loud or not. Nobody came out anyways.

In the morning, his neighbors upon seeing he was not dead, rushed him to Aksum Hospital with a Bajaj (tuktuk). The neighbors also found the identity card of his friend at that spot. He was given some treatment at the hospital, but he was immediately referred to Mekelle Ayder Referal Hospital, since his wound was severe and the hospital is barely operational. But there was no ambulance to take him and he had to wait until 24 February 2021. Even then, it was just an MSF Toyota Landcruiser that brought him to Mekelle. Berhe and his wife, Selamawit, speak about the many checkpoints and attempts to block him from going to Mekelle. Around Agula’e, he says soldiers ordered that he comes out, and one soldier entered the car and upon seeing his face said “okay, if the wound was on his feet we would not let him pass, but this one can go”.

The bullet that hit Berhe entered on his left side and exited on his right side, destroying both of his eyes, breaking his nose’s bones and his upper left jaw to such an extent that his entire left jaw was just hanging loosely.

Selamawit, his wife, said she heard the gunshot, and the cries of pain during the night. Although she was worried about her husband and had the gut feeling that it might be him, she hoped against it, since she could not go out anyway. Besides, “it is a common thing to hear gunshots at night in Aksum”, she said. She saw him in the hospital for the first time and she said she was in shock. Her daughter also saw him, and Selamawit says she has not yet recovered from that. “she is changed”, she said. The family is now all in Mekelle taking care of Berhe. Selamawit says of their daughter “she is traumatized. She says ‘we will never go back to Aksum; there are soldiers who will kill us'”. Selamawit, a house wife, says she does not know how to keep living. She adds “we are victims, but the entire people of Tigray too. A solution must be found for Tigray”.

When the sun sets, the killing starts in Tigray’s cities and towns. Gunshots are common starting from 5 PM and news of killed people in the morning is routine. In every city and town in Tigray, every morning residents learn about who had been killed the night before.

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  1. Baki

    March 29, 2021 at 3:48 am

    So who is narrating the story? Berhe apparently doesn’t remember anything after getting shot except in the middle of the night when he touched his face and knew that he was disfigured.

    But more importantly, if the soldier who asked for his ID didn’t shoot him then who was the other soldier who shot him? How many soldiers were there? Where is the friend? Can he stand witness to the events as written here?

    Even more importantly why would Berhe, a father of two young children risk his life to go to his garage— even though there was no work. What reasonable father would go out in time of war, rampant killings and murder and risk his life? Or was Axum returning to normalcy on Jan 25th?

    Did he see his shooter? Did his friend see his shooter? If Berhe went to work as normal who would be mad at him (same people who tried to kill atakilti 🤔 maybe?

    • Tigray ትስዕር ትስዕርትስዕርትስዕርትስዕርትስዕርትስዕርትስዕርትስዕርትስዕርትስዕርትስዕር

      March 29, 2021 at 1:04 pm

      Self-proclamed investigator ??? what are you doing here ? You, buttinsky, donot belong here at all.
      Baki or bakit are you from Eritrea, den where the modern day Askaris(sold for 500 mln USD) lives ? Go investigate the crimes and rape committed in Sawa and Asmera by Gen Philipos and others
      Are you unhappy because you are unable to control the whole Tigray in 3 days and kill all Tegarus ? Coward, why donot say your feeling straight forward. I do myself hated TPLF and supported the so-called Ginigit in my salad days , but as it turns out all these amhara leaders donot even care for their own people let alone for Tegaru. Did you expressed your affection for Tigray by killing Kids, Mothers , nuns, hermits, and priests ?
      I donot bother and care for political leaders , I am hear only to plead for actions in an effort to save the lives of my people. The current TPLF is fighting its enemies along with the young generations . They are not like your masters who order their subjects to rape and kill all men and women in the streets and those hiding at home to feel safe.

    • Rahel Berhe

      March 29, 2021 at 8:24 pm

      One word for you and let’s be clear while you are enjoying your life in Europe and are so full of hate against Tegaru’s racist you are, people are getting killed in Tigray! See your hate is bigger than your love for Eritrea and you know what hate does hate leads to destruction let’s make that clear!!! Our love as Tigreans for our country is bigger than our anger or hate against anyone, Tegaru’s all over the world are United! Unlike those bloody thirsty Eritreans who sold their own people to become slaves in Libya, let them drown in the sea and fought their own so called war against Ethiopia while they are reuniting now what a stupidity what a mind! The Amhara facism is for real one religion, one language and one flag it does not differ from Nazism. So you guys are a very dangerous cocktail! Both carrying an ideology that is destructive! Tigray is the land of history, the land of religions living in peace and a land of people that die for their land with such a resilience you can only dream of! Don’t worry the good thing about karma it always finds it’s way back!!!

      We will restore and help and build our land it will not be easy but it will be there! Tigray 1888 ❤️💛

  2. Haile Berhe

    March 28, 2021 at 10:36 pm

    We hear about such stories and we weep with and for our people. But there is no emotional relief, because we read and hear about similar atrocities on our people not just once in a while but daily, continuously. We and our people have no other option, but to fight harder with all our might, with all our mind, with all our heart and strength – with everything we got! For they want to wipe us from the face of the earth, but we will never let them win – EVER!

  3. Abrha

    March 28, 2021 at 2:01 pm

    This shows their level of fear is enormous. Once you’re checking the ID card and know that they were unarmed, why’s the shooting followed? This incident has got coverage but there’re many horrible things happened.
    This’s a well organized crime unleashed by the regime to destroy the people of Tigray. Those perpetrators have to be accountable and brought to justice.

  4. Yonas Tewelde

    March 28, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    #TigrayGenocide #Ethiopia #WarCrime

  5. Hailay

    March 28, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    Heart wrenching story! The pain inflicted by the invaders on the people of #Tigray is unspeakable! This shall too pass and #Tigray will definitely prevail!

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