War crimes feared in Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict "There is a risk this situation will spiral totally out of control, leading to heavy casualties and destruction," U.N. rights chief Michelle Bachelet said.
Fighting between Ethiopian government forces and rebellious northern leaders could spiral out of control and war crimes may have been committed, the United Nations said on Friday, as repercussions spread around the volatile Horn of Africa. The 10-day conflict in Tigray region has killed hundreds, sent refugees flooding into Sudan, and raised fears it may suck in Eritrea or force Ethiopia to divert troops from an African force opposing al Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia.It may also blemish the reputation of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for a 2018 peace pact with Eritrea and had won plaudits for opening Ethiopia’s economy and easing a repressive political system.
“There is a risk this situation will spiral totally out of control, leading to heavy casualties and destruction, as well as mass displacement within Ethiopia itself and across borders,” U.N. rights chief Michelle Bachelet said via a spokesman. A massacre of civilians reported by Amnesty International, if confirmed as committed by a party to the conflict, would amount to war crimes, she added. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accuses the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which rules the mountainous region of more than five million people, of treason and terrorism.