Ethiopia Officials Say 120 Civilians Killed in One of Deadliest Massacres of 10-Month War

Local officials in Ethiopia say that over 120 civilians have been killed by Tigray forces in recent days, which would be one of the deadliest massacres of the country's 10-month war, though the exact number is not yet known.

The war began in November of last year, and was primarily confined to the Tigray region, but the fighting has now spread into the neighboring Amhara region.

Sewunet Wubalem, administrator for the Dabat woreda, or district, in Amhara told the Associated Press that 123 bodies have been recovered as of Wednesday, and more are expected to be found.

"The attack on Sept. 4 was the most severe one, especially in Chenna Teklehaymanot village," Sewunet said.

Tigray forces have been accused by civilians of committing abuses against civilians including massacres and forced starvation. In the town of Debre Tabor, Getasew Anteneh said he watched Tigray forces destroy a home, killing six people.

"I believe it was a deliberate revenge attack, and civilians are suffering," Getasew told the Associated Press.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Ethiopian Women
Ethiopian officials say that Tigray forces have killed over 120 civilians in one of the deadliest massacres in the 10-month war. Women displaced by fighting in northern Ethiopia sit in a classroom at a school where they are temporarily sheltered, in the city of Dessie, Ethiopia, on Aug. 24, 2021. Eduardo Soteras/AFP via Getty Images

Sewunet said that the attack began on Aug. 27 after Ethiopian forces blocked an attempt by Tigray fighters to seize the city of Gondar.

Local residents blamed the Tigray forces for looting, shelling and killing civilians, Sewunet said. "Children, mothers and even religious elders were also targeted," he said.

The death toll could be as high as 200, Bekele Yitbarek, head of the North Gondar Health Bureau, said. "As far as I know, some (Tigray) fighters are still hiding in between farms and continue their killings," he said.

Spokesman for the Tigray forces Getachew Reda did not immediately respond to questions. He has told the AP that Tigray forces aren't targeting civilians as they fight in Ethiopia's Amhara and Afar regions, but multiple witnesses in recent days have alleged otherwise.

The conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region has spread into other areas in recent weeks, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. The Tigray forces say they are trying to pressure the government to lift the near-complete blockade on food aid and other essential supplies to their region as some 400,000 people there face famine conditions.

The United Nations, United States and others are pressing for an immediate cease-fire and a path to talks to end a war that has killed thousands of people in Africa's second-most populous country.

Amhara Reserve Forces
Long confined to Tigray, the conflict in Ethiopia has recently spread to two neighboring regions, Afar and Amhara, with heavy weapons fire killing an untold number of civilians and displacing hundreds of thousands more. Recruits for reserves of Amhara regional forces stand during their graduation ceremony, in the city of Dessie, Ethiopia, on Aug. 24, 2021. Eduardo Soteras/AFP via Getty Images