The United Nations has received reports that women are being gang-raped at gunpoint and men forced to rape their own family members amid a wave of horrifying sexual violence in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, Daily Mail reported.
“Women say they have been raped by armed actors, they also told stories of gang rape, rape in front of family members and men being forced to rape their own family members under the threat of violence,” UN aid coordinator in Ethiopia Wafaa Said told the UN on Thursday.
Said told member states that more than 500 rape cases have been reported at five medical centres in the northern state – but that the true number is likely to be far higher.
Soldiers from neighbouring country Eritrea have been alleged of contributing to the indiscriminate killing of civilians, leaving hundreds of thousands displaced and hungry.
“Most of the internally displaced people left with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing.
“They are generally traumatized and tell stories of the difficult journey they took in search of safety. Some reported walking for two weeks and some as far as 300 miles.”
She said some of the displaced people said of the people that traveled with them were killed particularly youngsters, people were reportedly beaten, women were subject to rape, some were pregnant and delivered on the way losing their babies.
The United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has described the acts carried out in the region as ethnic cleansing.
But Ethiopia rejected Blinken’s allegation.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last week eventually acknowledged for the first time that atrocities such as rape had been committed and said any soldiers committing crimes would be punished.
But some of the worst atrocities have been blamed on soldiers from Eritrea.
In a major announcement on Friday, Aiby said that Eritrean soldiers have agreed to leave the region – just five days after he acknowledged for the first time that they were even there.
“Eritrea has agreed to withdraw its forces out of the Ethiopian border,” Abiy said in a statement on Twitter the day after arriving in Eritrea’s capital, Asmara, to meet President Isaias Afwerki.
“The Ethiopian National Defence Force will take over guarding the border area effective immediately,”Abiy said.