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‘Leave no Tigrayan’: In Ethiopia, an ethnicity is erased

Farmer Nega Chekole, 30, a Tigrayan refugee from Humera, touches his stitched wound in Hamdayet, eastern Sudan, near the border with Ethiopia, on March 14, 2021. He says he was shot by militias before the war broke out on Nov. 4. The atrocities have been seared into the skin. It’s often the only evidence at hand to show the world. Now Tigrayans by the thousands take shelter within sight of the homeland they left behind in northern Ethiopia, some of them told to leave or be killed. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

By CARA ANNA, HAMDAYET, Sudan (AP) — The atrocities have been seared into the skin and the minds of Tigrayans, who take shelter by the thousands within sight of the homeland they fled in northern Ethiopia.
They arrive in heat that soars above 38 C (100 F), carrying the pain of gunshot wounds, torn vaginas, welts on beaten backs. Less visible are the horrors that jolt them awake at night: Memories of dozens of bodies strewn on riverbanks. Fighters raping a woman one by one for speaking her own language. A child, weakened by hunger, left behind.
Now, for the first time, they also bring proof of an official attempt at what is being called ethnic cleansing in the form of a new identity card that eliminates all traces of Tigray, as confirmed to The Associated Press by nine refugees from different communities. Written in a language not their own, issued by authorities from another ethnic group, the ID cards are the latest evidence of a systematic drive by the Ethiopian government and its allies to destroy the Tigrayan people.

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