LONDON - The ground of the Tigrayan village is soaked with blood and dozens of bodies lie strewn in the grass, according to a report by the British daily The Telegraph.
Groans can be heard from a seriously wounded man squirming on the floor between two corpses.
Chatting as they wander through the aftermath of what appears to be a mass execution of civilians in the Tigray region, soldiers laugh and joke among themselves.
Off to one side they spot a young man who seems to have survived by pretending to be dead.
“You should have finished off the survivors,” the cameraman says in Amharic, Ethiopia’s lingua franca, in an apparent rebuke of the perpetrators of the massacre.
These are scenes from a video clip obtained exclusively by The Telegraph showing the first evidence of what appears to be a war crime carried out by the Ethiopian army. Around 40 bodies in civilian clothes can be seen in the four-minute clip.
Ethiopian and Eritrean forces have for months been battling troops loyal to the former Tigrayan regional government in a war that has left thousands dead and millions on the brink of starvation.
The Ethiopian federal government has imposed a mass communications black-out in Tigray, meaning little is known about the conflict and making it hard to verify a flood of accounts of war crimes from survivors.
The video footage seen by The Telegraph, which is too graphic to publish, has circulated online in shorter form among local journalists and bloggers - deemed rare proof of the alleged brutality of Addis Ababa’s forces.
The Telegraph was able to geolocate the video to Debre Abay monastery in central Tigray - about 175 miles west of Tigray’s capital, Mekele. It has also confirmed that the clip has not been doctored.
Although the timing of the apparent massacre was not possible to ascertain, a pro-Tigrayan blog reported Ethiopian soldiers had killed 100 civilians at the same monastery on January 5.
Experts who were sent the footage called on the Ethiopian government to launch an immediate investigation.
“This is disturbing footage to watch and I would expect the Federal Government to allow the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission full access to establish the facts and to ensure that there is proper accountability for these killings" said Dr Alex Vines, Africa Director at Chatham House.
Ethiopia’s state-run Human Rights Commission (EHRC) confirmed to The Telegraph that they were examining the shorter clip of the massacre that has circulated online.
The video emerged after The Telegraph published dozens of Tigrayan refugees’ accounts of killings, artillery bombardment and looting in Tigray in November.
For the video and more information, visit: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/02/19/should-have-finished-survivors-ethiopian-army-implicated-brutal/?WT.mc_id=e_DM1339119&WT.tsrc=email&etype=Edi_FPM_New_ES&utmsource=email&utm_medium=Edi_FPM_New_ES20210219&utm_campaign=DM1339119