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Ethiopia: "All sides in Tigray war guilty of crimes" - Amnesty International

Protests over Tigray   -  
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AMANUEL SILESHI/AFP or licensors -

Ethiopia

Rights group Amnesty international has called for a probe into abuses in the Ethiopia-tigray conflict saying every party involved in the war in northern Tigray has committed crimes against humanity.

An Amnesty International specialist on Ethiopia and Eritrea told a press conference in Nairobi on Wednesday.

"Since the start of the conflict we have seen serious human rights violations that might amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes. Some of the human rights violations which we have documented include rape, and sexual violence which is brutal and shocking." Fisseha Tekle, Amnesty International researcher for Ethiopia and Eritrea said.

"The rape and sexual violence which we have documented as Amnesty International was committed by all the parties to the conflict. There's no innocent party which has not committed human rights violations in this conflict. All of them." he added.

The first formal peace talks between the warring sides in the brutal two-year conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region entered day two in South Africa on Wednesday.

Led by the African Union (AU), the negotiations in Pretoria follow a surge in fierce fighting in recent weeks that has alarmed the international community and triggered fears for civilians caught in the crossfire.

The talks are being held at South Africa's foreign affairs ministry headquarters.

AU Horn of Africa envoy and Nigerian former president Olusegun Obasanjo, who is the talks' chief facilitator, was filmed and photographed by AFP journalists entering the venue on Wednesday morning.

Kenya's ex-president Uhuru Kenyatta who is part of the mediating team, was also seen going into the building so was South Africa's ex-vice president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

US special envoy for the Horn of Africa Mike Hammer, is also participating in the talks.

The Pretoria dialogue -- the first publicly announced talks between the rivals -- opened on Monday and is due to run until Sunday, according the South African presidency.

But there has so far been a media blackout with journalists kept outside the venue's perimeter fence, and no updates issued.

The dialogue between negotiators from the Ethiopian government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the regional authorities in war-stricken Tigray came almost two months to the day since fighting resumed, shattering a five-month truce.

Prime minister Abiy Ahmed first sent troops into Tigray in November 2020, promising a quick victory over the northern region's dissident leaders, the TPLF, after what he said were attacks by the group on federal army camps.

The move followed long-running tensions with the TPLF, which had dominated Ethiopia's ruling coalition before Abiy came to power in 2018 and sidelined the party.

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