TPLF has a long history of attacking refugees and civilians as revenge or for political gains. When the TPLF assumed the helm of power in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1991, it did not waste time to return favor to then Sudan’s dictator, Umar Al Bashir Government. The favor was attacking close to a million South Sudanese refugees who were hosted by the former Ethiopian Dergue regime in the Gambella region of Ethiopia. TPLF attacked the women and children with light and heavy weapons indiscriminately. While fleeing from the savage TPLF attack, most of the refugees were taken by flood, eaten by crocodiles and others simply vanished in the jungle. For more information about this massacre please read the story of “The Lost Boys of South Sudan”. It is a story of young South Sudanese boys who fled the TPLF brutal attack and while wandering in the jungle alone were able to get help from Nuns and later resettle in the USA. The 1998 expulsion of 80, 000 Eritreans from Ethiopia and confiscation of their hard-earned property by the TPLF Crime family, the 2004-2006 massacre of the Anuak tribe in the Benishangul Gumuz region of Ethiopia, and the 2011 scorched earth attack on Somalians in Ogden are few examples of TPLF’s long crime sheet. In this article we will focus on the revenge massacre of Eritrean Refugees by the TPLF militia in Hitsas Refugee camp carried out in December 2020.
HITSAS MASSACARE AND INHUMANE TREATMENT OF ERITREAN REFUGEES.
Hitsas is a small village located in the central Tigray region of Ethiopia. It is only 30 miles away from the Eritrean border and a close by village called Hidaga Hibret was a TPLF military Training camp. In addition to the Tigray Militia, Hidaga Hibret also trained Eritrean opposition groups. Both factors violate the Guidelines of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for Setting up Refugee camps. Regardless, Hitsas was chosen by the TPLF to be an Eritrean refugee camp for two major reasons. First, to serve as a source of Trainees to the Edaga Hibret Military Training Camp and second it was convenient to send infiltrators to Eritrea. When Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018, he tried to move the Hitsas and nearby Shimelba refugee camps to another location, but the TPLF blocked it.
TPLF’s militia harassment of the Eritrean refugees in Hitsas elevated after the November 4th attack of the TPLF militia on the Ethiopian Federal Army Stationed in The Tigray Region of Ethiopia. Overall, the TPLF’s militia in the area were heavily dependent on the refugee camp for food and other supplies. When the war started between the TPLF and the Ethiopian Federal Government the TPLF militia infiltrated the camp almost daily to steal money, food, cellphones and even kidnapping young girls for sex. When the war reached a neighboring refugee camp called Shimelba the TPLF militia used the refugee camp as a bunker and many refugees were killed by crossfire in the war between TPLF and the Ethiopian Federal Army supported by Eritrea. To avoid a similar occurrence in the Hitsas refugee camp the Eritrean Soldiers decided to secure it and they did on November 19th, 2020. The Eritrean army captured the TPLF militias that were harassing the refugees and set them free. The residents of the nearby Hitsas village were evacuated by the Tigray Militia and no casualties were recorded among Tigray civilians. The Eritrean Army told the Eritrean refugees in Hitsas they were going to continue securing the camp until the Ethiopian Federal Government in consultation with UNCHR decided its fate. Because the Eritrean soldiers were too few to cover the vast campground the TPLF militia from surrounding villages and so called Eritrean armed opposition groups infiltrated the camp and killed eleven refugees. Luckily the Eritrean soldiers were able to dislodge the infiltrators and push them away from the camp. A couple of weeks later, for unknown reasons, the Eritrean soldiers left the area. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the Eritrean government did not like the news that portrayed the Eritrean Soldiers in Hitsas refugee camp were to kidnap the refugees and return them to Eritrea by force.
Three days after the Eritrean Army left the camp, the TPLF Militia started firing towards the Refugee Camp. Fearing for their life most refugees fled the area towards Eritrea. The TPLF Militias in Zelazle, Adi Hageray, and other surrounding villages were given orders to block the return of the refugees to Eritrea and they did. They ambushed the unsuspecting refugees and threw several hand grenades at them. The refugees fled the camp in three groups and all of them faced the same fate. In some cases, multiple refugees were put into a hole and a grenade was thrown at them. After killing most of the refugees the TPLF militia collected the few refugees that survived the attack, looted their money, cellphones, and belongings, and ordered them to return to the Hitsas refugee camp. Those who were hit by grenades and light bullets were left behind to die. Any refugee who showed a sign of weakness during the long return walk to the Hitsas refugee camp was automatically executed by the TPLF militia. Even asking for water or food was a reason for the TPLF militia to kill the Eritrean refugees. When the refugees who survived the attack returned to the camp the TPLF milia arrested 15 of them and until this day their whereabouts are unknown. It is widely believed that they were executed by the TPLF militia. When the final refugee count was made the camp ended up 1300 refugees short. Looted their money and supplies by the TPLF militia, for the next four weeks, the refugees survived by eating leaves. Their effort to get food from the nearby bigger town Shire was not successful.
A month later, on January 3rd, 2021, the Eritrean Army returned to the camp and evacuated all the refugees to the nearby city of Sheraro. If it was not for the Eritrean army all refugees could have been perished. At that time Sheraro was under the Ethiopian Federal Army, well-functioning city with active transportation service to Shire and two other refugee camps called Adiharush and Maiaini. When the refugees arrived in Sherrao they were told they could go to the Adiharush and Maiaini refugee comps or return to Eritrea. Those who chose to go to the Adiharush and Maiaini refugee camps headed to the Adi-Harush and Mai aini refugee camps and those who wanted to return to Eritrea were offered transportation to do so. Everything was done voluntarily and there was not any forced return of even a single refugee to Eritrea. In fact, according to some of the surviving refugees interviewed it was difficult to return to Eritrea than going to Adiharush and Maiaini Refugee Camps.
TPLF’s COVERUP AND DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN.
Recently the author of this article came across a bizarre story. A Tigrean Maid and social media personality who lives in Saudi Arabia was called by TPLF officials to do a disinformation film about TPLF’s massacre of Eritrean Refugees in the Hitsas refugee camp. The lady Nicknamed “Gual Raya” has forged relationships with several diaspora Eritreans mainly because of her Twisted Tigrina language. Eritreans who speak a clear and original Tigrina are often entertained by Gual Raya’s pseudo Tigrina which is a mix of Amharic and Tigrina. To get money from Diaspora Eritreans to finance her disinformation film Gual Raya faked her sickness and asked for money for hospital bills. She posted pictures that showed her in a hospital bed in Saudi Arabia. Eritreans who are known for helping people in unfortunate situations raised money and sent it to her. A few weeks later Gual Raya appeared in the Tigray Region’s capital city Mekelle and announced her project to record a film about Hitsas refugee camp. All those Eritreans who contributed money to her hospital bills were caught by surprise and learned that they were duped. Currently, Gual Raya is using Eritrean money to record a disinformation film that whitewashes the crime of the TPLF militia against peaceful Eritrean refugees.
TPLF committed heinous crimes against the South Sudanese, Somalis, and Eritrean refugees. TPLF’s track record indicates that the recent massacre of the Eritrean refugees in Hitsas is the tip of the iceberg. What makes the Hitsas refugee killing different was that it was committed against thousands of Eritrean refugees who were fleeing an attack by the TPLF Militia on the Hitsas refugee camp. TPLF also killed hundreds of Eritrean refugees in Maiaini and Adiharush camps. Some of them were ordered to carry weapons to the war front and never returned to their camps. Others vanished when they were travelling from the Mai-aini and Adiharush refugee camps to the new Alemwach refugee camp in the Amhara Region. More were killed because they were labeled as Eritrean government spies. The massacre of the Eritrean refugees in Tigray refugee camps needs a detailed study and documentation. Thanks to Gual Raya, those who survived the TPLF’s militia attacks and resettled in Europe and North America have already started talking about it. I hope they will continue to do that in memory of those innocents who lost their lives under the criminal TPLF mafia. As to Gual Raya she did what her culture taught her. “It is okay to take advantage of good Samaritans”.
Awet N’Hafash and Eternal Glory to Our Martyrs.
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The views and opinions expressed in " Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) Militia Massacred 1300 Eritrean Refugees. " are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Setit Media.
ኣብዚ " Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) Militia Massacred 1300 Eritrean Refugees. " ዘርእስቱ ጽሑፍ ተገሊጹ ዘሎ ርእይቶን ሓሳብን ናይቲ ጸሓፊ/ት እምበር መትከላትን መርገጽን ሰቲት ሜዲያ ዘንጸባርቕ ኣይኮነን።