Man Who Filmed Mahbere-Dego Massacre Speaks

The solider who filed the Mahber Dego Massacre, now a POW with the TDF, shares his account.



On April 01, 2021, BBC Africa Eye published an investigative report about a massacre at Mahbere-Dego, Tigray. The reporting analyzed a video recording that had emerged some weeks earlier and was able to establish the location where it was carried out along with details about the manner in which a group of civilians was executed by men and women in uniform. Among other things, the investigation uncovered that based on their uniform and badges the soldiers were members of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces. The analysis also isolated what the soldiers were saying. The use of “Weyane” along with the location established the Tigrayan identity of the victims while the various things that the soldiers called out to each other like “pour gas over them” and “burn these people” established the disturbing bloodlust and hate that was motivating the massacre.

Researchers with the international Bellingcat, relying on the BBC’s report and other clips that have since been brought to light, published another investigative report on 24 June 2021, confirming the findings of the BBC and uncovering some details about the identities of the officers involved in carrying out the massacre. One of the officers identified in the report is the man who recorded the executions. In the report, he is identified as Fafi (Tigringa: ፋፊ). 

Fafi, whose real name is Sitotaw Alemayehu, has since been captured as a POW by the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF) and has given a detailed account of how the massacre unfolded. His account, in Amharic, was aired on Tigray TV as seen in the clip is embedded below: 

Here is an English translation of his account:

My name is Sitotaw Alemayehu. I was the camera man for the first Brigade of the 25th Division of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF). I was there when the Mahbere Dego massacre happened. The massacre was committed by the 25th Division (of the ENDF). The commander of the Division then was Colonel Suffian. By my count, 43 people were killed. The order to kill them came from Colonel Suffian. He told Captain Tamrat, the Division’s head of operations, to execute the order. The head of our Brigade, Colonel Tesfaye Birkessa, was also involved in the execution of the order. Initially, we were sitting round a mortar that our Division owned, protecting it from the enemy. Then the people whom were destined to be killed were brought from a place far away from where we were sitting. He said that he wanted the female soliders to be involved to help with their resolve. After that, Colonel Suffian ordered me to film everything that would follow.  He said that a video recording of the executions would be useful at a later time. Accordingly, I filmed as the personal guards of Colonel Suffian, men and women, shot the people to death. That is how it was filmed. I don’t think anyone involved in the shooting is with us here today.  Neither those who ordered the massacre nor those who executed it are here. I think about half of them were killed in the Yechila Operation (by the TDF). I do not know what happened to the other half. We were scattered around at that time (during the operation) and we did not get a chance to regroup before we were captured by the TDF. I am certain that a lot of atrocities more brutal and cruel than the one I filmed will have been committed against Tigrayans. Tigray has been wronged.  We are now asking the people of Tigray for forgiveness.


  1. Dawit Seyoum

    October 28, 2021 at 12:37 am

    If my memory does not fail me from watching CNN’s 2nd clip, the person who filmed the massacre at Mahbere-Dego asked to be filmed killing. He handed over his camera got a gun and was also in the act and filmed. Who was that person then if it is not this individual who is asking for forgiveness now.

  2. AbaTadel

    September 5, 2021 at 2:21 pm

    This is Abiy’s and his group act of genocide. Abiy and his group must appear in the world court for their atrocities.

  3. Gudeta

    September 5, 2021 at 11:00 am

    titled”Ethiopian Rebels Looted American Aid Stores, U.S. Official Says
    SEPTEMBER 1, 2021 6 MINS READ” and posted at zehabesha, terrorist media whose partner in the act of terrorism is ESAT,Borkena, amhara mass media other outlets owned by amhara expansionists, states that Tigrayan fighters leading a military assault on the neighboring Amhara region have destroyed villages and emptied aid stores, Sean Jones, the head of USAID in Ethiopia, told Ethiopian state television in an interview that aired Tuesday night.
    src Declan Walsh, New York Times,Sept. 1, 2021,
    Amhara elites all vocabulary to attack and defame TDF and wage a large scale genocide against people of Tigray.

    The last and the desperate accusation made recently by these genociders is presenting TDF as force marching to destroy churches and religious relics which spring from Mister Agegnehu Teshager.It is like one last-ditch attempt in the final seconds of their descent to the hell , resting place, to try to more people guarding them and serving as a shield for the amhara elites.

    ኢትዮጵያዊ የሆነ ሁሉ የእምነት ተቅዋማት አፍራሽ ፀረ ሃይማኖት የሆነን ሠራዊት ለመታገል የሕይወት መሥዋዕትነት መክፈል አለበት፥ይህ መሥዋዕትነትም ለገዛ ሃይማኖት ና እምነት የመሞት ያህል ነው ጽድቅ ነው የሚል ፕሮፓጋንዳ ያዘለ መልዕክት ባደባባይ ተላልፏል፥የሃይማኖት አባቶች ነን ባዮችም ሲያስተጋቡት ተደምጠዋል፥፥
    በነፍጠኞች አባባል የእምነት ተቅዋማት አፍራሽ ፀረ ሃይማኖት ብለው የሚፈርጁት የትግራይ ህዝብ ቤተ እምነቱ ሲቃጠል ካህናት በጅምላ ሲታረዱ፥ንፁሓን መኮሳት ሲደፈሩ፥አድባራትና ገዳማት ሲቃጠሉና ሲዘረፉ፥በፍንፍኔና በውጭ ሀገራት በሚገኙ ኤርትራውያን ጋር የዳንኪራ ከበሮ ሲጎሰም፥ናይት ክለቦች በተጋሩ ሕልቂትና በትግራይ አቢያተክርስቲያናት ውድመት ምክያት ደምቀውና እጅግ ብዙ በሚሆኑ ደንበኞች ተጥለቅልቀው እንደነበር የቅርብ ጊዜ ትውስታ ነው፥፥በተለምዶ የአማራ ክልል በሚባለው የሚገገኘው ሕዝብ ሃይማኖትን የተቀበለው ከትግራይ ነው ፥፥የትግራይ አብያክርስቲያናት በኢትዮጵያ ወታደሮችና ቅጥረኛ ደንገጡሮቻቸው መርከስና መውደም አለባቸው የሚሉ የአማራ አብያክርስቲያናት ካህናትና አለቆች እየተነሱ ነው፥፥ለመሆኑ የኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት ሕዝብን በትግራይ ዋይ ላይ ለማስነሳትና ለመፍጀት የአማራን አብያክርስቲያናት ለምን ማፍረስና ማቃጠል አስፈለገ

    The Reichstag fire allowed Hitler to pin the blame on Communists and have all of them sent to concentration camps , and likewise prosperity party and amhara elites are condemning Tegarus for all evil act they have committed.
    Borkena articles “TPLF sent a letter to 52 countries appealing for peace after losing several battles”(4sept21) serving as propaganda machine for PP.

    Victory to OLA and TDF, and freedom to the people of Tigray and Oromo !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Exit mobile version