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Ethiopia’s government condemns probe into Tigray human rights abuses

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FILE PHOTO: Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed poses for a photograph during the opening of the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and the Government of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, February 9, 2020. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

An African Union (AU) investigation into possible human rights abuses in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region was met with condemnation by the government in Addis Ababa on Thursday.

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The investigation, which was a “unilateral” announcement by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, is “unhelpful” and has no legal basis, according to Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry.

The inquiry should be halted immediately, it added in the statement.

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Ethiopia’s government forces have been repeatedly accused of using violence and rape against the population in Tigray, which prompted the AU to announce that investigations into the allegations would be undertaken by a commission of inquiry.

Ethiopia launched a military offensive on its northern region of Tigray in November to diminish the power of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which rules the region and has been critical of the central government.

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The hostilities in northern Ethiopia soon escalated into a complex conflict involving neighbouring Eritrea.

Hundreds of thousands of people have already fled the fighting, which has caused widespread destruction.

According to the UN, similarly high numbers of people in Tigray are facing the threat of starvation.

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