Tigrayans who escaped intense fighting in their homeland by fleeing into Sudan, are now safe, but horribly traumatized. Sudan has opened the Um Raquba refugee camp, last used 20 years ago, to manage with the more than 25 000 people fleeing air strikes, shooting, and massacres in Ethiopia..
Africa News reports that Ganet Gazerdier, a 75-year-old woman, said, “I saw bodies dismembered by the explosions, other bodies were rotting, lying on the road, murdered with a knife.” The bombardment by Ethiopian federal forces not only destroyed her house in the town of Humera, but also separated her from her family. She says everyone scattered, and she has yet to make contact with them.
Distressed at having to leave their homes, and at becoming separated from their famlies in the rush, refugees are reportedly wandering around, dazed. Africa News reports that conditions are spartan at Um Raquba, with only basic emergency relief set up at the remote camp.
The conflict between Tigray state authorities and the government of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has turned ethnic divides deadly.
24-year-old Gerdo Burhan said, “If you are Tigrayan and captured by government soldiers, you are in trouble.” He added, “Pleading with them that you are a civilian does not make a difference.” While he managed to flee to Sudan, his father, mother and two sisters became separated from him on the way.
Guilt haunts those who managed to reach Sudan safely. They wait in the hope that those whom they were separated from in the panic will also arrive. One man, Messah Geidi split from his wife and four-year-old son. He said, “I don’t know where they are, and if they are still alive.” He fled the town of Mai-Kadra, where Amnesty International last week said that it was likely that hundreds of people were stabbed or hacked to death.”
Meanwhile, Africa News reports that the United Nations has warned of possible war crimes having been carried out in Tigray state.
Umm Muhammed Umar