Abuse Cases Surge in Ethiopia Amid Tigray Crises


Rape cases, abductions, extrajudicial killings have been on the rise amid this pandemic, with females being the dominating targets. Often such attackers prey on women because they consider them vulnerable. Ethiopia is one of the states with surging reports of abuse. Young women who have escaped from the attackers allege that militia groups in the country are responsible for the brutal acts.

Rape Accusations

During an interview with Reuters, a young lady, 25 years of age, narrates how an “Ethiopian ” soldier separated her from her family and friends. She states that she was together with her friends when an Ethiopian soldier stopped her at the Tekeze River and excluded her from her friends.

She says they followed a narrow path into the forest before the man unleashed his true colors. Immediately the man asked her to choose between raping her or killing her. That was when it dawned on the lady that she was about to be raped by an imposter. The lady narrates how the soldier cocked a gun over her forehead, demanding conjugal. She asked the lad if he had condoms. But she was saddened by an unfortunate reply.

“Why would I need a condom?”

Therefore on that day, the helpless lady was raped by a man whose status was unbeknownst to her. She left the forest broken, sad, and unaware if she contracted STIs or gotten pregnant. Fortunately, when she arrived at the camp, she received immediate medical attention. Tewadrous Tefera Limeuh, the doctor who attended to her that day, confirmed to Reuters that he had given her pills to stop any pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.

That is not the only rape case reported in the region. Five aid workers of international and Ethiopian health groups confirmed an escalation in reports of abuse in Tigray. These reports come when the region is experiencing instability because of the political violence that flooded the area the better part of last year. The United Nations gas called on the Ethiopian government to find ways to end sexual assaults in the region.

According to the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, disturbing reports of rape cases have emerged from Tigray. There have been instances where the rebels force the people to rape their relatives or have forced sex to exchange necessary supplies.


Reaction to the Rape Accusations

Rape victims claim that the assailants are likely to be Amhara’s militia allied with the Federal government during the Tigray fight. The government of Ethiopia did not immediately respond to the questions on rape cases. Meanwhile, Ethiopian authorities have refused claims of being tied to the rape cases. Instead, they have alleged that the TPLF might be responsible for the assaults.

Because of the unending rape cases, inhabitants of the country’s refugee camps continue to live in fear. Likewise, medical centers in the region are under pressure for emergency contraception and tests for STIs.

While addressing the issue, Amhara regional spokesman, Gizachew Muluneh, stated that he had no information on the accusations. And both Ethiopia and Eritrea have denied Eritrean troops’ presence in the region as some people alleged Eritrean troops might have been the rapists.


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