Ethiopia’s government said Thursday that its investigation into the November events that touched off conflict in its Tigray region has led to the identification of 349 suspects who face charges, including treason and terrorism, for their role in an attack against the army’s Northern Command.
Among them are 253 retired and active members of the Ethiopian National Defense Force and federal police, and 96 members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front – key leaders among them, according to the Ethiopian attorney general’s office.
Some 36 of 279 suspects involved in the November May Cadera village attack have been detained, with 117 graves of the massacre victims located so far.
Ethiopia said the investigation is designed to establish justice and “set the record straight on the atrocities committed by TPLF,” but the release of these findings come amid ongoing international concern over a looming humanitarian crisis, reported human rights violations and concerns over regional stability and security.
The Tigray long held power in Ethiopia’s system of ethnic federalism, despite accounting for a small minority of the Ethiopian population themselves. Many Tigray have resented the rise of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, an ethnic Oromo himself, and the optimistic Abiy reforms that were quick to fall under the cloud of Ethiopia’s internecine battles.
The Amnesty International organization, citing the United Nations, said Thursday that 2.3 million people in Ethiopia need humanitarian assistance and the Tigray situation is “getting worse by the day.”
“There has been no trade with the region since November. Crops and equipment have been destroyed. Farmers have fled from their land,” said Amnesty. “The situation is particularly acute in rural areas where humanitarian access has been even more difficult due to the continued fighting and where banks and markets still are closed. The healthcare system in the region has almost collapsed.