The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have carried out executions of government soldiers in northern Ethiopia, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Thursday.
He said the army had retaken the town of Shire in the Tigray region and found bodies of troops that were tied up and executed, adding that the cruelty is heartbreaking.
Abiy, who made the remarks on Twitter, did not give any details as to the number of dead.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s parliament voted to remove the immunity from prosecution held by 39 top Tigray officials.
While now designated a rebel group, the TPLF is also the region’s ruling political party.
Lawmakers voted to remove the immunity of politicians including the regional president, Debretsion Gebremichael for “bearing arms and revolting, attacking the federal army and other related crimes.’’
The United Nations, African Union and international community have expressed concern that Ethiopia could descend into full-blown civil war after Abiy last week ordered a curfew and sent soldiers in to put down an alleged uprising by the TPLF.
The government said earlier this week its forces had killed some 500 TPLF fighters. Refugees from the conflict are already streaming over the border into Sudan to seek shelter.
Matthias Spaeth, country director of aid organisation Welthungerhilfe in Ethiopia, told dpa that Tigray is cut off from supply routes and “there are more than 600,000 chronically malnourished people that one cannot reach now.’’
“One of the biggest worries in the country is that the conflict in Tigray will spill over into other regions,” he added.