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Right groups accuse Ethiopian forces of ethnic cleansing in Tigray region

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Two international human rights groups, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have accused Ethiopian forces from the Amhara region of committing war crimes and ethnic cleansing in the neighboring Tigray region.

The new report jointly issued by the two rights groups on Wednesday, revealed that hundreds of thousands of civilians in western Tigray have been unlawfully killed, sexually assaulted, forced from their homes with threats and denial of aid, which “amounted to crimes against humanity as well as war crimes,” the report said.

The report also reveal widespread abuses against civilians in the embattled Tigray region allegedly perpetrated by security officials and civilian authorities from the neighboring Amhara region.

“Sometimes, these abuses are with the acquiescence and possible participation of Ethiopian federal forces.

“The abuses are part of a widespread and systematic attack against the Tigrayan civilian population that amount to crimes against humanity as well as war crimes.”

The report, a result of months-long investigation including more than 400 interviews, also allege that several atrocities have been reported in the Tigray war, with Ethiopian government troops and their allies, including troops from neighboring Eritrea, commiting most of the crimes.

Ethiopian federal authorities have, however, strongly refuted the allegations but they have been accused of deliberately targeting Tigrayans for violent attacks since the outbreak of war in November 2020.

Western Tigray has long been a contested territory and has been a point of contention between the ethnic Amhara and Tigray communities for decades.

The Amhara authorities say the area was under their control until the 1990s when the Tigray-led government which ruled Ethiopia for nearly 30 years, redrew internal boundaries that put the territory within Tigray’s borders.

The outbreak of the war brought these longstanding and unaddressed grievances to the fore with Amhara regional forces, along with Ethiopian federal forces, reportedly seizing these territories and displacing Tigrayan civilians in a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign, the report added.

Politics

Congo DR electoral body, CENI, announces date of presidential election

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The electoral authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Commission Electorale Nationale Independente (CENI) have announced dates for the next presidential election.

CENI on Saturday said the election will take place on December 20th next year.

The commission outlined several challenges, including the logistics of transporting ballot materials thousands of miles, health concerns about Ebola and COVID-19, and unrest that has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

The incumbent president, Felix Tshisekedi, who already expressed his intention to run again. He might be running against Martin Fayulu, who continues to claim that he won the 2018 election and was denied victory.

Terrorist activities, largely by a rebel group, M23 have drawn reactions from stakeholders in the East Africa region and global observers. The M23 is a rebel military group based in eastern areas of the DRC, mainly operating in the province of North Kivu.

According to the electoral authorities, insecurity remains the main challenge for the next elections.

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Congo DR rebel group, M23 wants direct talks with government. Will Kinshasa concede?

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The M23 rebel group, which has been at loggerheads with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has asked for a direct talk with the government.

The positions are days after the deadline for the declaration of a permanent truce between the worrying battles.

Leaders of Rwanda, Burundi, and Angola met this week in Luanda to find a solution to the conflict in eastern Congo, which has forced thousands to flee their homes.

But the M23 was not part of the discussions and found out about the statement on social media, its spokesperson said.

The spokesperson of the group, Lawrence Kanyuka, “thanked the regional leaders for their efforts to find a peaceful solution to the current conflict.”

“Give us direct negotiations with the government to resolve the root causes of conflict that are producing all these wars here,” he said. M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa also issued a statement to the same effect.

Meanwhile, Congo DR’s foreign minister Christophe Lutundula said: “It won’t happen. I can reassure you on behalf of the government and the President of the Republic.”

The M23 is a rebel military group based in eastern areas of the DRC, mainly operating in the province of North Kivu.

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