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Update on war crimes of TPLF (Tigrayan) forces during occupation of Raya Kobo Woreda

in North Wollo Zone of Amhara Region, Ethiopia


Introduction


The Raya Kobo Woreda (district) is located in the North Wollo Zone of the Amhara Region in northern Ethiopia. It is bordered on the south by Logiya River, on the West by Gidan Woreda on the north by contested Raya Azebo (Tigray Region) and on the East by the Afar Region. In violation of the self-declared cessation of hostilities, on August 24th, 2022, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) (Tigrayan forces) began a fullscale invasion of Raya KoboWoreda (district) of the NorthWollo Zone in Amhara Region, Ethiopia, for the third time. Between June and December 2021, the TPLF invaded the Amhara and Afar Regions and caused immense suffering to civilians (the second round of full-scale invasion in the Amhara Region by the TPLF). By late December 2021, TPLF forces were pushed out from many occupied areas but sporadic attacks continued despite the Ethiopian Government’s position that the war had subsided.


Between January to August 2022, several areas in Telemt/North Gonder, Raya/North Wollo and Wag Hemra Zones remained under TPLF control and were used as a base to launch further attacks. Telecommunications, electricity and banking services have been unavailable in areas occupied by TPLF where tens of thousands have been displaced and where remaining residents have been subject to further ethnic-based, targeted attacks by TPLF forces. Residents in these areas also had no access to humanitarian assistance. On August 24th, 2022, the TPLF opened large-scale attacks on Ethiopian allied forces stationed in Raya KoboWoreda including Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), Amhara Special Forces (ASF), and local volunteer Fano militias who organized to defend their people. Though, the TPLF shift blames that they were attacked first and acted in defense. After the large-scale fighting conducted for weeks, the TPLF forces entered all kebeles of Raya Kobo Woreda and Kobo town. They controlled most kebeles of Raya Kobo Woreda including Kobo for about 40 days.


This report from the Amhara Association of America (AAA) focused on widespread human rights violations such as targeted killings of civilians, rape, and pervasive property destruction, looting of farming villagers’ homes and essential service facilities (health institutions and schools) perpetrated by the TPLF in their 40 days of control of Raya Kobo Woreda and Kobo town. Recent reports are consistent with previous patterns of systematic violence and atrocities committed by invading TPLF forces during previous rounds of invasion including the full-scale invasion of Amhara Region in 2021.