U.S. Sanctions Eritrean General for Human Rights Abuses in Tigray

The United States has imposed sanctions on a senior Eritrean military leader for engaging in "serious human rights abuse" in Ethiopia's Tigray region. The U.S. Treasury Department said that forces under the command of General Filipos Woldeyohannes, chief of staff of the Eritrean Defence Forces, were responsible for "massacres, looting, and sexual assaults". The U.S. said any property or interests belonging to him in the country would be frozen and American citizens barred from doing business with him.

In reaction, the Eritrean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "The government rejects both, in letter and spirit, the utterly baseless allegations and blackmail directed against it." The ministry's statement called on the U.S. administration to bring the case to an independent adjudication.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched military operations against the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) in early November 2020 after an alleged attack on a federal army camp by TPLF fighters. After the conflict began, Asmara and Addis Ababa both repeatedly denied involvement of Eritrean forces in the ongoing war. In March 2021, Abiy admitted for the first time the presence of Eritrean troops on Ethiopian soil.

InFocus

Tens of thousands of Ethiopians have been displaced by the ongoing conflict in the Tigray region (file photo).

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