You are currently viewing ‘We don’t commit mass killings’ – PM Abiy Ahmed denies accusations of mass killings by gov’t forces

‘We don’t commit mass killings’ – PM Abiy Ahmed denies accusations of mass killings by gov’t forces

Addis Abeba – Responding to questions raised by lawmakers during a parliament session on Thursday, regarding human rights violations and accusations of mass killing against government forces, PM Abiy Ahmed stated “the government doesn’t kill en masse.” 

“How could we kill our people? Who would kill himself?” the PM asked, adding, “they attempt to take power in mass and cry of mass killing when they fail,” pointing fingers to armed groups.

A recent report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) has alleged that Ethiopian security forces, along with an allied militia group, have conducted extensive attacks on medical professionals, patients, and healthcare facilities in the Amhara region since August 2023. According to the rights organization, these actions constitute “war crimes.”

While denying mass killings, PM Abiy acknowledged that human rights violations do occur in Ethiopia, stating, “We should correct our mistakes and take responsibility.” He highlighted accountability measures within the military, noting that thousands of ENDF and police members have been imprisoned facing legal and disciplinary action for code of conduct violations.

Covering broader human rights issues, PM Abiy stated that the concept of human rights is being used for political purposes. He called for parliamentary investigation into institutions and proclamations related to human rights, expressing concern about organizations funded by external entities.

“Institutions for which don’t pay salary and are employed by other forces, who report to others – if we allow such institutions, you know what would happen,” the Prime Minister said.

He emphasized that human rights institutions should be independent from both the Ethiopian government and other forces, noting that they are currently free from government influence.

IDPs return in Tigray

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed reported positive developments in the return of displaced people to the Raya and Tselemti areas in Southern and Northwestern Tigray. 

He acknowledged that the process in Raya had encountered some difficulties, deviating from initial plans. “We didn’t resort to conflict because of these deviations. Instead, we engaged in discussions and made necessary corrections,” the Prime Minister stated. He added that efforts are now focused on implementing the revised approach for IDP returns in the area.

This acknowledgment comes against the backdrop of violent clashes that erupted in April of this year in the Raya Alamata district, located in the South Tigray Zone. According to reports from the United Nations, these clashes resulted in the displacement of approximately 50,000 people.

Regarding Tselemti, the Prime Minister noted that while there have been promising beginnings, drawing from lessons learned in Raya, the process is not without its complexities. “Various parties create obstacles. We continue to engage in discussions and make preparations, but some individuals still pose challenges,” he explained.

Since last week, IDPs have started to return to their villages in the Tselemti district, with the first batch of 1,500 IDPs successfully returned to their homes in the district on June 29, 2024. Following days of stalemate caused by concerns about the disarmament of returning militia members, additional 2,200 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have arrived in the district this Wednesday.

Prime Minister Abiy expressed confidence in the commitment of the Tigray Interim Administration and senior TPLF leaders to resolve ongoing issues. However, he noted that some individuals outside these groups continue to impede progress. 

“There are people who are not part of the interim administration or TPLF whose anger has not yet subsided,” the Prime Minister observed, suggesting that these individuals should work with the interim administration to address their concerns.

Addressing the legal framework, the Prime Minister clarified that the Pretoria agreement includes a provision for addressing displaced persons and contested areas in accordance with the constitution. He stated that the current roadmap is part of a specific plan, separate from the Pretoria agreement.

“Our specific plan references the constitution, and as displaced people from all areas should return, we have seen the beginning of returns to Tigray, albeit in small numbers. Additionally, hundreds of thousands have returned from Amhara to Oromia,” Prime Minister Abiy reported. AS

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