The Tigray tradition of tracking down those that harm civilians

An Eritrean warplane attacked Ayder Elementary School in Mekelle in 1998. The Tigray tracked down the pilot.

The Tigray have a strong tradition of identifying those who have committed atrocity against them and a long memory to facilitate justice. They are taking note and following those who have committed atrocities to the people of Tigray just have they done in the past.

The Tigray government has identified the Ethiopian Air Force pilots who have bombed civilians most recently including the SU-27 (Under both Single Sweater and Dual Seat) Pilots who are bombing Mekelle and other towns in Tigray
1) Colonel Biruk Seifu (Leader of the Operation)
2) Colonel Jambo Azage
3) Major Solomon Bekele
4) Major Million Atnaw
5) Colonel Abebe Legese

The drone team is led by Captain Tadesse Abreha (who was captured last November at Tembien and sent home) as well as Captain Abiyot.

When I first came to Ayder Hospital in Mekelle in 2015 I soon learned about the story of the Ayder Elementary School which was just across the street and pre-existed the hospital by many years. It was the scene of a horrible war crime against school children and their would be rescuers when on June 5, 1998 an Eritrean warplane dropped a cluster bomb on the school. As parents and teachers rushed to save the children the plane returned and dropped another.  Sixty were killed and 158 were injured. The case was presented in an international court and Ethiopia was partially compensated. Still the Tigray identified the pilot as Habtom Kahsay and tried to have him sent to Ethiopia when he sought asylum in Djibouti in 2014.

When the Derg regime fell to the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front in May 1991 two high ranking Derg officials, Berhanu Beye and Addis Tedla, clearly involved in mass killings sought refuge in the Italian Embassy to escape justice.  Tedla died at the embassy years later but Abiy Ahmed forgave Beye his crimes, Beye was an Amhara, and let him leave Ethiopia without punishment in December 2020.

Author: Professor Tony Magana

Professor Tony Magana is Head of the Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences at Mekelle University in Mekelle, Ethiopia. He directs a neurosurgery residency and training program as well as neuroscience research.

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