Untold stories of Nifas Mewcha’s rape survivors

“When they came, I told them that I am pregnant and that I also have a daughter. One of them picked up my daughter and said they would rape her; but I begged them to leave her alone. They did not care that my daughter was there. They raped me in front of her. My daughter saw the whole thing. One was choking her holding her while the other raped me. My daughter was crying. One would have his gun on us while others took turns”.

The above painful incident was uttered by a woman (whose name is not mentioned) was raped by insurgents of the TPLF forces in Nifas Mewcha Town of the Amhara State in front of her daughter.

Nifas Mewcha, a town in northern Ethiopia was attacked and captured by TPLF’s fighters from August 12 to 21. It was part of a months-long offensive across Amhara and Afar states launched by the terrorist TPLF after the Ethiopian Government had declared a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew from Tigray, revealed a video released by Breakthrough News

The unilateral ceasefire was announced by the Government of Ethiopia with the aim to enable farmers plough their lands peacefully and let relief organizations deliver unhindered humanitarian assistance to the people freely.

As the video reported referring rape survivors, residents of Nifas Mewcha endured gruesome atrocities during the nine days fighters of the terrorist TPLF enterprise occupied the town. Dozens of women reported being gang raped at gun point, sometimes in front of their children.

The woman, who is not mentioned by name, said: I was telling them I was seven months pregnant. They told me it is none of their concern whether Amhara has a baby or not.” They said you are Amhara and your soldiers have raped our women. After raping me, they finally left my house around 7:00 pm.

She went on saying that they left nothing in her house untouched and they told her they do not want Amharas to have children.

Another rape survivor also mentioned that: when they first came to her house, three of them raped me. They first removed her two daughters: one is 10 years old, and the other is two and half years old. They came back again another day. It is really difficult to talk about it, she said.

“They insult you in so many ways. After they rape you, they spit on you. “

After they invaded the town, a crowd of them came here asking food. They ate all of the food we have and left. Then they came back Saturday around 4:00 pm and took turns at raping me,” she added.

“My daughter is traumatized. It is like she has turned to stone. She is not able to study. People ask her all the time if she is ok, she tells what happened to me to her friends. She and I just stare at each other in silence.”

I still have not received medical treatment. I was stabbed with a knife by one of the men. I only received first aid. It has been agonizing, she noted.

In the same token, another rape survivor said: “He closed the door and raped me while holding a machete to me. God brought me out alive. And then the other one came. I begged him. I pleaded with him not to do it again.

“He was calling me Abiy’s servant. He brutalized me, dragging me around with a machete in his hands.

He had his way with me. I had some money with me about 1020 birr of my savings. He took all of it. I asked if he could at least leave my money, but he took it all.

The woman said that her abdomen is still in unbearable pain adding that she feels pain on the area that ripped while he pulled her. She said her bladder pains her a lot. She feels sharp pain around her bladder when she walks. “It is agonizing. I think I have said enough. I feel like a dead person already, even though I am dressed and walking.”

As to the video report, survivors said they endured verbal abuse from the TPLF forces pointing to a broader pattern of bigotry and using rape as a weapon of revenge. When the TPLF invaded the town, the women described systematic looting.

The women also described physical and psychological wounds that may never heal. The fear they live under was made all the more real when gunfight broke out close to where we were filming.

At least 70 women in Nifas Mewcha reported being raped in the short period that the TPLF captured the town, according to an investigation by amnesty international.

Given the stigma and trauma associated with rape, the true number is likely higher. As to the video report, similar stories of atrocities by the TPLF were reported in the towns the reporters visited across Amhara State. While the U.S placed almost all of the blame for the war on the Ethiopian government, these alleged crimes by Washington’s longtime TPLF allies have gone largely ignored, the report further indicated.

Another resident said that the rebels said they came to kill the Amharas. They would draw their guns on them to intimidate them.

“I have been in constant agony fearing that they would come back and kill my children. I want the world to know the injustice and pressure that is being put on us, the Amhara people. The world must know this.”

She added: “Trying to appease TPLF with offers of ceasefire and talks while they continue to kill and terrorize us is not right. The world must come to know this. The story has to be told. The TPLF sell their sugarcoated stories to the world. We have no voice. The world must know these truths. Please tell our stories for us.”



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