I believe the Mai Kadra Massacre symbolizes the war on Tigray. The Ethiopian-Amhara forces massacred Tigrayans, cooked a report blaming Tigrayans for the massacre, used international organizations to endorse it and spread it, and then used the cooked story to galvanize the Ethiopian public to hate and rise against Tigrayans. It is an utter injustice and travesty and the truth hasn’t yet prevailed. It also symbolizes the covert and overt participation of international organizations in the demonizations of Tigrayans.
This was a pilot massacre, it was found to be “successful”, and then it was repeated and scaled to the entire Western Tigray first, and to the rest of Tigray later.
The massacre took place on 9–10 November 2020. On 12 November (just after two days), Amhara nationalists with links to Amnesty International had it reported by Amnesty as a massacre of Amharas committed by Tigrayans. This cooking and orchestration was a great success for the Ethiopian regime and its allies. They continued to replicate it whereever they set foot in Tigray: attack, massacre, loot vandalize and then blame it on Tigrayans. And sadly, despite several evidence to the contrary, Amnesty International has stuck to the first report (see for example the joint Amnesty and HRW report on Western Tigray), partly to preserve its reputation. Amnesty International’s work in Ethiopia, including recognizing the known genocide-preacher Eskinder Nega and being a conduit for government propaganda raise questions. Amnesty has also been accused in the war in Ukraine.
Tigrayans who fled the massacre to Sudan and to the rest of Tigray have consistently said that it was Tigrayans who were massacred by the Amhara forces together with the ENDF. Genet Haile, Tigrayan refugee woman in Sudan who witnessed her father being attacked in the onslaught, replied to the accusation that Tigrayans committed the massacre “Wrong! The Ethiopian government is wrong! The government wants to criminalize Tigrayans, but these people were sent by the government of Ethiopia to do this to us“. And importantly, the Abiy Regime has refused international investigation of the Mai Kadara Massacre and other massacres. Why would it allow when international orgs and media repeat its propaganda of massacring Tigrayans and blaming them for massacring?
The massacre took place on 9-10 November, 2020. According to the Amnesty report, the ENDF and the Amhara Special Force “took control of Mai-Kadra town on 10 November around 10 am.” Bu there is evidence that the Ethiopian and Amhara forces were in Mai Kadra at least before noon of November 9, indicating clearly the massacre took place after they took control of the town.
In the below Amhara Mass Media video premiered on Nov 10, the journalist says Ethiopian forces attacked Tigrayan forces in Mai Kadra the day before. He specifically says “yesterday”. This an analysis of the video here. Together with stories of Tigrayans displaced from Mai Kadara, this makes it clear that the Ethiopian and Amhara forces were in Mai Kadara at least before noon of November 9. See the expert analysis at the bottom.
When did the Ethiopian Defence Forces arrive in Maikadra? Amnesty International states that “the EDF spent the night on the outskirts of Mai-Kadra town” and that “the army and the Amhara Special Force took control of Mai-Kadra town on 10 November around 10 am.”
Amnesty should have paid more attention to the AAMA broadcasts. Wendater’s first report of the massacre was made via a live interview for the midday news on 10 Nov (starting at 9min 50s). A slide show of six photos was played continuously throughout.
Three of the photos used form a sequence showing Ethiopian army forces/militia driving down the main road in Maikadra, with lots of people walking the streets, apparently unconcerned.
From the shadows I would guess the photos were taken at around 15:30 and the fact they were broadcast during his midday news report on 10 Nov means they must have been taken on 9 Nov. So the EDF were in Maikadra the day before the Amnesty report states.
One of the other six photos used shows the “massacre site” already with covered bodies placed on beds lying in the shady square. Note the two tractor trailers, one with a body on board. Who took these photos and how did the AAMA get hold of them?
Amnesty reports that the massacre took place “on the night of 9 November” and agrees with the AAMA report that the EDF soldiers entered Maikadra at 10am on 10 Nov. But there are clearly bodies present at 15:30 on 9 Nov – and EDF soldiers. Where are these bodies from?
The later report by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) from 24 Nov concludes that the attack “which began on November 9th at around 3:00 p.m. went on throughout the night until the perpetrators left in the early hours of November 10th.”
And the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) report from 25 Dec blames “Tigrayan youths” stating “starting from 3:00 pm, they … spoke to victims in Tigrigna and identified those who could not respond and began to attack them.”
But the photos broadcast by Amhara TV clearly show that Ethiopian Defence Forces were present in Maikadra around this time!
A video of militia marching through Maikadra was uploaded on 14 Nov, so may not have been available before Amnesty’s rushed report came out. It was uploaded by a reporter(?) who, looking at his other uploads, had travelled up from Gondar to Humera.
[Video was inserted here. It has been deleted, but a trace can be found on the Wayback Mahcine]
Perhaps he picked it up from militia in Humera? The shadows reveal that it was shot around 2pm, but which day? The militia were supposed to have arrived at 10am on 10 Nov and Wendater was filming that afternoon. I think this must have been shot on 9 November as well.
There’s the sound of lots of shooting, which appears to be from the west of the road, and in one part there’s a man walking in the middle of the road pleading not to be killed. Everyone is speaking Amharic – but the man’s Amharic betrays the fact he’s probably Tigrayan.
So we have photos showing that the EDF were in Maikadra at 3:30pm on 9 November, photos showing bodies in the “massacre area” at this time, and a video of milita marching through Maikadra that was probably shot a little earlier on 9 November.
Already there’s enough evidence to suggest that all of the reports on the Maikadra massacre are deeply flawed and that the massacre needs to be completely re-investigated.
- Survivors Recount the Mai Kadra Massacre
- The Mai Kadra Massacre
- The War on Tigray in Numbers: Initial Analysis of Civilian Massacres