The floating dead of Ethiopia: ‘Hands tied, they were shot in chest, abdomen and legs’

The River Tekeze, Nahar Satit if one prefers its Arabic title, rises in Ethiopia flowing in a northward path by means of the nation’s restive Tigray province earlier than turning westward demarcating the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and then flows into Sudan. It is the place the Tekeze enters Sudan that our bodies began washing up on its banks in the primary week of August.

Bodies have an irritating behavior of cropping up unexpectedly, at inconvenient instances, skewing acknowledged normal narratives. And when our bodies drift down rivers, it dents the nationwide picture, one thing that the Government of Ethiopia has to deal with, now that the dead have began floating down the River Tekeze.

News Agency Reuters reported on August 3 that in keeping with witnesses, some 30 dead our bodies had washed ashore. Reuters quoted a Dr. Tewodros Tefera, a surgeon who escaped from Ethiopia, as saying he buried 10 our bodies over the previous six days in Sudan and was advised by native fishermen and refugees that one other 28 had been recovered. His description of the state of the our bodies was most stunning: “They were shot in their chest, abdomen, legs… and also had their hands tied.”

There is a civil conflict in the Tigray province of Ethiopia the place for round 9 months now, since November 2020, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has been locked in battle with the Ethiopian military. Thousands have died in clashes and many extra have fled to neighbouring Sudan. Ethiopia has been accused of blockading provides to Tigray, a area with a inhabitants of six million, the place worldwide help staff worry the world’s subsequent starvation disaster is all set to unfold. On July 30, the UN expressed fear that 100,000 kids in Tigray are in danger of demise from malnutrition.

The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed Ali, the Nobel peace prize winner of 2019, denied all allegations that his authorities is implementing a blockade of Tigray.

Meanwhile, the relations between Sudan and Ethiopia stay strained as effectively, the problem being management of the swathe of fertile land on the border known as al-Fashaga. When Ethiopia was engaged in combating the TPLF, Sudan in December 2020 moved its forces to this triangular spit of land on the junction the place Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea meet. Sudan forcibly evicted hundreds of Ethiopian farmers who had been farming underneath a land-use pact, prompting Ethiopia to retaliate and border clashes broke out between the 2. According to the International Crisis Group, Ethiopia and Sudan have wrangled for many years over the 260-sqkm area that the Ethiopians name Mazega.

It is in this area of al-Fashaga/Mazega that our bodies at the moment are floating in from Tigray, bearing marks of sudden and violent demise, potential proof of atrocities happening up the river. Refugees had at all times made accusations of widespread ethnic cleaning and bloodbath of civilians happening in Tigray and now additional proof to bolster their claims appear to be drifting down the river.

Those who’ve lengthy reminiscences can also bear in mind one other river in one other time that carried our bodies from one nation to a different as grisly proof of one of the worst genocides happening then. The 12 months was July 1994; the river was Kagera; and over the scenic Rusomo Falls our bodies had come, from Rwanda into Tanzania, day by day, typically 15 and typically 50. In 100 days in 1994, 800,000 had been slaughtered in Rwanda; some of the proof had come floating down the river for the world to see.

The photos of floating our bodies on the River Tekeze, on the Sudan Ethiopia border, created furore when posted on social media. The New York Times reported that Ethiopia’s authorities denounced the photographs as fakes, orchestrated by Tigrayan sympathisers. According to NYT, Ethiopia accused Tigrayan forces of dumping the our bodies of 300 individuals who had been killed in different elements of the area to generate made-up propaganda of bloodbath.

But our bodies are our bodies; it doesn’t matter who dumped them, what issues is that they are usually not residing. What issues is that when once more our bodies are floating down a river — every bloated; rotting; disintegrating carcass – an accusation that somebody someplace was behind the ugly deaths. What issues is that once in a while, our bodies bereft of life; devoid of identification; disadvantaged of dignity nonetheless hold coming, floating down the bend of a river someplace in the world.

Also learn: Tigray’s former rulers back in Mekelle, Ethiopian government declares ceasefire

Also learn: In Tigray, food is often a weapon of war as famine looms

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