ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

The world must condemn the massacre in Maikadra and “atrocious acts of crimes against humanity” by Tigrayan rebels “in no uncertain terms,” Ethiopia’s government said on Tuesday.

The government vowed to “spare no effort in bringing the perpetrators to justice,” hours after the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) confirmed that at least 600 civilians were killed in an ethnically driven massacre in Maikadra, a town in the northern Tigray region, earlier this month.

The rights watchdog said the “mass killings of civilians and related human rights violations” on Nov. 9 were carried out by “an informal group of Tigrayan youth known as Samri, aided and abetted by members of what was then the local administration and security establishment in Maikadra.”

The target of the attack were people of Amhara and Wolkait origin and the “grave human rights violations may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes,” according to the EHRC.

The government statement said the commission’s findings confirmed that forces of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and its Samri youth group “killed hundreds of people with full intent, a plan and preparation as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population.”

“The world has once again witnessed the atrocious crimes Ethiopia has to endure meted out by the TPLF criminal clique,” read the statement issued by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office.

It stressed that the EHRC has confirmed that “the Maikadra attack is not a simple criminal act but is rather a premeditated and carefully coordinated grave violation of human rights.”

Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region has been witnessing heavy fighting since Nov. 4, when premier Abiy’s administration launched an offensive against the TPLF, saying the renegade group had attacked military installations.

Along with mounting casualties, the escalating conflict has displaced thousands in Tigray, with the UNHCR estimating that at least 40,000 Ethiopians have fled to neighboring Sudan so far.

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