War of Words Over Massacre in Ethiopia's Holy City

A war of words has broken out over Eritrea's role in the Ethiopian federal government's assault on its northern Tigray province, in particular on the reported massacre last November of hundreds of unarmed civilians in the holy city of Axum, the capital of the renowned ancient kingdom of that name.  
Reports of the massacre were first carried in church media around the world after a Belgian group said in January that the Maryam Tsiyon Church, also known as the Cathedral Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, had been attacked. Ethiopian Orthodox tradition holds that the cathedral holds the Ark of the Covenant, the chest which held the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written.
Amnesty International (AI) confirmed this week that hundreds had been killed in Axum. The official Ethiopian Human Rights Commission responded that "preliminary findings indicate the killing of an, as yet, unknown number of civilians by Eritrean soldiers in the city of Axum in retaliation for an earlier attack..."
And Agence France Presse reports that an official of the Addis Ababa-appointed regional government in Tigray has blamed troops from a "neighbouring country" - apparently Eritrea - for destroying factories and universities in Tigray state.
But Eritrea's Minister of Information, Yemane G. Meskel, vigorously denied the Amnesty report. Writing on his Twitter account, he said "Eritrea is outraged and categorically rejects the preposterous accusations levelled against it by Amnesty International in a fallacious report... The AI report is transparently unprofessional and it is evident that the AI makes no effort to get the facts right and cross-check the veracity of the allegations."


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