A German TV travels through a war zone: Tigray, not arriving at peace

A German TV travels through a war zone: Tigray, not arriving at peace

Weltspiegel program in Germany’s premier channel ARD Das Erste produced an 11-minute program rich in footages of destruction and suffering in Mekelle, Wukro, Adigrat and Aksum. In the footage is also Beriha Girmay whom we wrote about before. We present a translated summary of the program below.


By Wintana Tsegai

The war in Tigray is over, says Ethiopia’s government. On a trip through the region, the Weltspiegel team experienced something different: Thousands dead, over 2 million people displaced, Eritrea’s army still present, rape is the order of the day – and people in the countryside suffering from hunger. The central regime in Addis Ababa continues its fight against the forcibly replaced political elite in Tigray. The Weltspiegel teams’ question about what the war is doing to the people in Tigray, posed to the Ethiopian spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Dina Mufti, was swiftly rejected with the rhetorical “What war? There is no massive military action, it’s just a targeted police intervention to bring only the absconded criminals to justice.” He continues on casually elaborating that what they are conducting in Tigray is called law enforcement and is very normal for any sovereign country. He explained that this law enforcement action is now complete and that they are in the next phase of rebuilding the region and the society including re-instilling confidence in the IDPs.

However what the team encounters on its further journey towards the East of Tigray paints a totally different picture. Armed forces with their allies from Eritrea mainly control the main traffic axes in the east and center of Tigray. As the team headed towards Adigrat along the recently reopened main road they passed through several checkpoints manned by Ethiopian and Eritrean troops. In the impassable areas beyond the roads, however, the fighting continues. Members of the Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) are fighting there against the Ethiopian and Eritrean troops and regional Amhara militia. 

Along their journey from Adigrat to Axum the team heard several eyewitness testimonies of victims and survivors alike which also told a different story to the one being repeatedly offered by the Ethiopian regime. In the sacred Orthodox Christian town of Axum the team heard from an eyewitness to a massacre that took place several months earlier. He did not want to be identified for fear of repercussions but told the Weltspiegel team that hundreds of civilians were killed by Eritrean soldiers including his brother who he says was a civilian. The Ethiopian regime claims those killed were combatants. The team were shown the roughly built graves with blood soaked earth which was  still fresh and only marked with numbers. He recounted how his murdered brother’s body was transported on an open carriage and on top of several piled up bodies. As he spoke he broke down and told the team that that the pain was so deep it is unforgettable. Axum: a town in deep mourning. 

As the team drove on through Axum, the devastation of the war was visible: buildings with shattered windows, destroyed military tanks on the roadsides, burnt military vehicles and used artillery shells spread all over the ground. 60 km away from Axum the destruction of various infrastructure was still visible although there had not been any fighting there. In one factory a watchman explained to the team that Eritrean soldiers had taken over the 2 year old factory and proceeded to destroy the equipment leaving nothing intact. 800 workers have been left unemployed and destitute after 6 months. A little further on, the team witnessed more destruction caused by Eritrean soldiers, this time of farmland and crops. An elderly farmer told the team that the Eritreans had burnt the ready to harvest crops, burnt all farming equipment and are denying them access to their land by threatening them with death. Another farmer told the team what the Eritrean soldiers had said to them “we must use hunger as a weapon, it’s the only way to defeat them”. There were only a few humanitarian aid workers distributing food aid to the thousands in desperate need as one elderly woman told the team that she has absolutely nothing left, no home, no bed, no clothes, no food, no money, everything had been taken, looted by the invading soldiers. The Weltspiegel team concludes that hunger is evidently being used as a weapon. 

Back in Mekelle, Weltspeigel visited a school building (Unity School) which had been converted into a mass shelter for over 4000 IDPs in Mekelle. All had fled here to survive but were now facing an entirely new struggle to survive as the conditions in these makeshift shelters are extremely challenging. Humanitarian aid agencies had  very minimal presence. The team spoke to a couple of women who shared their harrowing accounts of their journeys to get to this place from their various war torn towns. The IDPs sheltered together in a very small crowded room, a difficult place to be for all but especially for women and children such as Hijab a newborn barely a day old –  yet her fate as an IDP already determined.

The team also visited the university hospital where they encountered some of the worst atrocities and suffering. A father who had brought his 15 year old daughter had been shot in the face by soldiers, her wails of pain resounding throughout the hospital. 

Finally the team spoke to a young female rape survivor who painfully relived her ordeal by sharing that when she asked her attacker why he was raping her he told her that it was in his orders to kill all Tigrayan males over the age of 7 and rape all Tigrayan females over the age of 8. He also explained that they had been ordered to make sure they impregnated the women so that they delivered Ethiopians and not Tigrayans.

The young rape survivor then determinedley tells the Weltspiegl team that once she recovers she will join the TDF fighters in the mountains so she can make sure that this doesn’t happen to her sister or any other young girl like her.

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  1. ድል ለትግራይ ሕዝብ ውድቀት ለአማራ ልሂቃን

    በዘመናችን ያሉ አባቶችና የቅዱስ ሲኖዶስ አባላት ብፁኣን ሊቃነ ጳጳሳት በጣም አሳፋሪ የሆነ የአምሀራ ፖለቲከኞችን አጀንዳ እያራመዱ ይገኛሉ፥፥የአምሀራ ፖለቲከኞች የአምሀራን የበላይነት ያረጋገጠ አሃዳዊ አስተዳደርን በአንድነት ሽፋን የሚያራምዱት አጀንዳን በሰፊው ሕዝብ ላይ ለማስረጽ የሚጠቀሙባቸው ቃላት መካከል ኢትዮጵያዊነት ኩራቴ፥ በኢትዮጵያዊነቴ አልደራደርም ፥ኢትዮጵያን የነካ ማንም ሀያል ሀገር ይጠፋል፥ ምክንያቱም ኢትዮጵያ የቃል ኪዳን ሀገር ናት ወዘተ በማለት ሲዘላብዱና ንፁሓንን ለሥልጣናቸው ለጥቅማጥቅም ሲሉ ይገብራሉ፥፥
    በዘመናችን ያሉ አባቶችና የቅዱስ ሲኖዶስ አባላት ብፁኣን ሊቃነ ጳጳሳት ደግሞ ከአምሀራ ፖለቲከኞች የቀረበላቸው የአንድነት ፖለቲካ አዋዜ የተላወሰ የአምሓራ ማዕድን ተቀብለውና ባርከው ስለ አንድ ወገን ዕልቂት ብቻ ሲነግሩን ይደመጣሉ፥፥ስለምንድነው በሕዝባችን ላይ የደረሰውን ግፍና የጅምላ ጭፍጨፋ በስሙ ና በትክክለው ባሕርዩ ሊጠሩት ያልፈቀዱት፧ የኦርቶዶክሳውያን ጭፍጨፋ በማለት በአንድነት ስም የሚሸቅጡ የአምሀራ ሊሂቃንን ስሜት ላለመንካት ፥ገዳዮችና ጨፍጫፊዎች እነርሱ ሆነው ሳለ በኦነግ ሸኔና በ ሕውሓት ለማላከክ እንዲያመች ተብሎ የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋህዶ ብቻ ተጨፈጨፉ እያሉ አንድነትን እንደከለላ በመጠቀም ሌላውን ብሔር ወንጀለኛና ጨፍጫፊ በማስመሰል ኦርቶዶክሳዊያኑን ምዕመናንና ካህናትን ሲያርዱ የቆዩ አሁንም በዚሁ እከይ የሰይጣናዊ ጣኦት ቤት ግብር የተሰማሩ ፋኖና የአማራ ሚሊሻን ነፃ ለማውጣት ተብሎ መሆኑ አይዘነጋም፥፥
    የክርስቲያን ደሴት የሆነችው የኢትዮጵያ ዜጎች ነን ባዮቹ ፋኖና የአማራ ሚሊሻ ካህናትንና መነኮሳትን ሲገድሉ፥ ቤተክርስቲያን ሲያቃጥሉ ክርስትናቸውን ፖዝ ወይም ዲአክቲቬት አድርገውት ካልሆነም ክደውና ተዘንግቷቸው ነበር ይሆን ??

    የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋህዶ ብቻ ስለተጨፈጨፉ ፥አንድ ሆነን የውጭ ጠላትን እንመክት የሚለው በአማራ ሊሂቃን የሚመራው ማህበረ ቅዱሳን ነኝ ባዩ የተቀረፀ ስልት ለመሆኑ ጥርጥር የለውም፥፥
    በአብነት ተማሪዎችና በጥንታውያን ገዳማት ስም የሚነግደው የሽሮና የበርበሬ፥የመፃህፍት መደብሮቹ በየ ሀገረ ስብከቱ የከፈተው ይሀው ድርጅት ጥቅማጥሞቹን በዘላቂነት ጠብቆ ለማቆየት በአንድነትና በኦርቶዶክሳዊነት ስም ሕዝባችንን መሸንገል ግድ ስለሆነበት ነው፥፥የ ትግራይ ፥የኦሮሚያ ወዘተ ሀገረ ስብከት ማህበረ ቅዱሳን አስተባባሪ(ሀላፊ) የሚሉ ቅጥያና ተገዲራ ስሞችና አስማቶችን ብሎም ሹመቶችን ላለማጣትና ለማገንብ ብሎም እንደ አሸን ክታብ የሚጠለቅ ባጅ ለማጠላለቅ ሲባል የተለያዩ አጀንዳዎችን ቀርፀው ይሯሯጣሉ፥፥
    ዮሐ ፩፪ ፥፭ ይህ ሽቱ ለሦስት መቶ ዲናር ተሽጦ ለድሆች ያልተሰጠ ስለ ምን ነው፧ አለ።
    ፮ ይህንም የተናገረ ሌባ ስለ ነበረ ነው እንጂ ለድሆች ተገድዶላቸው አይደለም፤ ከረጢትም ይዞ በውስጡ ከሚገባው ይወስድ ስለ ነበረ ነው።
    አሁንም ያሉ ቅዱሳን አባቶች በ ኦርቶዶክሳውያን ጭፍጨፋ እና አንድነት ስም የአምሀራ ጀንዳን ሲያራምዱ የአምሀራ ፋኖና የአማራ ሚሊሻ ጨፍጫፊነት ላለማውገዝ፥ነፍሰ በላ ና የአረብ ቅጥረኛ መንግስትን ስሜት ለመጠበቅ እየሰሩ ስለመሆኑ አላጣነውም፥እንደምንረዳውም አይስቱትም፥፥ፀሐይ የወጣ ለታ ተሸብበን ነበር ታፍነን ተይዘን ብልፅግና አስፈራርቶን ከመሞት መሰንበት እየኖርን የምንሰራው ትሩፋትና ይበልጣል ብለን ነው ወዘተ የሚሉ ምክንያቶች ተቀባይነት የላቸውም፥፥ቅዱስ ፓትርያርኩ የትግራይ ሕዝብ የጅምላ ዕልቂት እየተፈፀመበት ው ስላሉ እኛን አይወክሉም ኦርቶዶክሳውያን በረሀብና በጥይት እያለቁ ነው እንድረስላቸው ሲሉ ደግሞ እኛም ከጎኖ ን ማለት ይህ አማራ ልሂቃንን ቅር ካሰኘ እኛም አንቀበለውም ፓትርያርኩ እኛን አይወክሉም ትሉ እንደነበር ግልፅ ሆኖልናል፥፥የትግራይ ሕዝብ ዕልቂት በግልፅ ባደባባይ ለመናገር ካሳፈራቹ እኛው ጋር ለምንም ጉዳይ ይሁን አትምጡብን፥ኢንደልወክሙ ትምፅዑ ሀቤነ እስመ አንትሙ ተሀውሩ ግድመ ግድመ ወኢፈቀድክሙ ታውስኡዎ ለዓለም በእንተ ቅትለተ ተጋሩ በእደ ንጉሥክሙ አቢይ ወአእርክቱ፥፥
    በ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋህዶ ስም የሚነግደው የፖለቲካ ድርጅት ቀድሞውኑ የካህናትና የመነኮሳት ጠላትና አሳዳጅነቱ መለያውና መታወቂያው የሆነው ማህበረ ቅዱሳን ነኝ ባዩ ድርጅት ከየሀገረ ስብከቱ ተነቃቅሎ ቤተክርስቲያናችን በራሱዋ ገንዘብ ና ሀብት በቀኝ ግዛት ተይዛ ከነበረችበት አረንቋ ነፃ እንድትወጣ መሰራት አለበት፥፥ይኸው ድርጅት ከህልፈቱ መዳረሻ መሆኑ ቢበራለት ነው መሰል እየኮፈነነውም ቢሆን ከቅዱስ አባታችን ጎን ነኝ ቢል ለግሉ አላማ መጠቀሚያ ለማረድግና ቤተክርስቲያን በአንድ ብሔር ተይዛ ግዛቱ በሌላ ብሔር ተወላጆች እንዳይያዝ በመስጋት ተጋሩን ወደ እነርሱ በሀይማኖት ሽፋን ለማሰለፍ መሆኑ ሁሉም ተገንዝቦታል፥፥ድል ለትግራይ ሕዝብ ውድቀት ለአማራ ልሂቃንና ለማህበረ ቅርሱሳን ወዳንኤል ሕስረት ወሙሓዘ ጥፍኣት

  2. Military Action required

    We urge the world leaders to take action and withdraw the invading forces from Tigray.

    These dark forces are arbitrary arresting and ill-treating youngesters and old men
    who took refuge in the IDP centers located in Shire .Besides , Eritrean and Ethiopian forces went from house to house rounding up youngmen.
    We are voicing the suffering of the people of Tigray and all those who are affected by ethnic cleansing campaign launched by the ruling party and its accomplices in an effort to urge the internaltional community act as fas as possible to save them and enable themto get access to immediate humanitarian aid.

    As we have seen thus far, Eritrean government has sufficiently inured to sanctions and restrictions . There’s no doubt about it—The Eritrean government is gonna habituate the prosperity party to sanctions and restriction as much as it played a huge part in conferring human right abuse upon his disciple, Abiy Ahmed.

    Therefore, Sanctions will not force the invaders to leave Tigray unless the international community, UNSC , intervene and expell them forcefully.

    Help end the ongoing war and allow the People of Tigray get access to immediate humanitarian aid. ****** Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers are arresting yougmen and torturing them, destroying private & public facilities insofar as they are not expelled by force from Tigray! It is needs to be recalled that people are dying and suffering from hunger and every single life is unique and precious regardless of age, socio-economic and political background etc !

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