The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed for the first time admitted that atrocities were committed during the military offensive in the northern Tigray region that happened on March 11.
He said in an address before MPs in the capital, Addis Ababa that report has it that atrocities have been committed in the Tigray region. He said that soldiers who were found to have raped women or committed other war crimes would be held responsible.
The Ethiopian leader also said in his first public acknowledgment that troops from neighbouring Eritrea were present in the conflict and suggested they may have been involved in abuses against civilians.
He said “Eritrean people and government did a lasting favour to our soldiers. However, after the Eritrean army crossed the border and was operating in Ethiopia, any damage it did to our people was unacceptable.”
Abiy’s admission comes after months of denial from Ethiopia and Eritrea and days after the UN said it had agreed to Ethiopia’s request for a joint investigation into allegations of human rights abuses in Tigray.
Thousands have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been displaced after Ethiopia’s government led a military campaign against the TPLF in November last Humanitarian officials have warned that a growing number of people might be starving to death in Tigray.