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The world must respond to Ethiopia’s Merawi Massacre

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Marawi massacreIt has taken three weeks, but the world is slowly confirming the details and coming to grips with a shocking atrocity in Africa’s second most populous nation. In the Ethiopian village of Merawi, government soldiers massacred civilians in door-to-door house raids, then dumped the victims’ corpses in the street.

Government human-rights officials have now confirmed that at least 80 civilians were killed during the late-January onslaught in the northern region of Amhara, where troops loyal to the regime of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmad have been quelling an uprising. But the actual toll is likely much higher. Some reports estimate that as many as 150 were murdered by troops, including women and children, and at least one pregnant woman.

The only thing more horrifying than the statistical death toll is the shocking account of terror from those who survived. One resident, who lost his brother in the carnage, told the Guardian newspaper that soldiers were “barging into homes [and] smashing doors” in the aftermath of a skirmish between Ethiopian government forces and rebels. He said he personally knew of at least 45 fatalities.

An Orthodox priest who arrived in Merawi on Jan. 30 shortly after the massacre told the British publication that he had seen at least 50 dead bodies splayed across the village’s main highway, and that most “seem to have been killed execution-style, with a bullet wound to their heads.” Like the first eyewitness, this priest’s brother was also killed in the attack by troops who then stole his money and his phone.



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