By Fasika Tadesse and Simon Marks
Sep 8, 2021, 6:34 PM – Updated on Sep 8, 2021, 8:48 PM
Word Count: 299
The killings took place over three days earlier this month in the Dabat district near the city of Gondar, said Gizachew Muluneh, head of the Amhara regional communication bureau. Sewunet Wubalem, administrator of Dabat district, said 132 bodies had been recovered by authorities after the assault that followed five days of intense fighting between Tigray and government troops in early September.
“They killed women, children and a clergy member,” Gizachew said. The civilians were targeted as fighters loyal to the dissident Tigray People’s Liberation Front withdrew from the area after clashes with pro-government forces.
Getachew Reda, a senior member of the TPLF, strongly denied Tigray forces had carried out any killings in the area calling it “a fabricated allegation by the Amhara regional government.”
“We categorically reject claims of our forces’ involvement in the killing of civilians,” he said in a statement.
Read more: What to Know About Ethiopia’s Challenge in Tigray: QuickTake
Tigray fighters began pushing into northern Amhara and the Afar region to the east in July after they regained control of their territory in late June, routing government troops and allied forces from the Amhara area as they went on the offensive.
In western Tigray, ethnic militia fighters from Amhara and allied soldiers from Eritrea have annexed the territory, which they say was illegally acquired by the Tigrayans when they came to power in 1991 after toppling the communist Derg regime.
The war in Ethiopia began in November after months of increasing tensions between the TPLF, which governed Ethiopia for 27 years prior to 2018, and Abiy, who some regional politicians accuse of centralizing power and clamping down on opposition members.