Panafrican News Agency

Ethiopian crisis: Eritrea rejects US' 'utterly baseless allegations' against its Defence Forces chief

Asmara, Eritrea (PANA) - Eritrea has rejected the "utterly baseless allegations" by the US in which it sanctions the Chief of Staff of the Eritrean Defence Forces (EDF), General Filipos Woldeyohannes (Filipos), for his connection with "serious human rights abuse" committed during the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia. 

The Eritrean Foreign Ministry, in a statement in Asmara on Monday, said the US Administration had levelled "unacceptable accusations" against Eritrea that also announce measures against General Filipos under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

"The Government of Eritrea rejects, both in letter and spirit, the utterly baseless allegations and blackmail directed against it," the statement said.

It noted that this is not the first time the US Administration has made such "baseless smear campaign" against Eritrea.

"In the face of the repetitive and unwarranted accusations, Eritrea cannot remain silent. In the circumstances Eritrea calls on the US Administration to bring the case to an independent adjudication if it indeed has facts to prove its false allegations."

The Government of Eritrea also urged the UN Security Council to shoulder its responsibility to deter and seek redress to repeated acts of flagrant violations of international law and sovereignty of peoples and actions by the US.

The US said in a statement on Monday that General Filipos commands all of the EDF forces that have committed serious human rights abuses in the Tigray region of Ethiopia throughout the conflict.

"Under Filipos’ command, EDF troops have raped, tortured, and executed civilians in Ethiopia.  Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have described a systematic effort by the EDF to inflict as much harm on the ethnic Tigrayan population as possible in the areas the EDF controls.  Eritrean troops have forcibly displaced civilians and ransacked businesses; IDPs spoke of a 'scorched earth' policy intended to prevent civilians from returning home," the statement by the statement by the US Department of State said.

The US said it is also concerned that large numbers of EDF have re-entered Ethiopia, after withdrawing in June and called upon the Eritrean government to withdraw its military forces "immediately and permanently" from Ethiopia. 

The statement also urged all parties to the Ethiopian conflict, including the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, to end abuses against civilians, take steps to de-escalate the conflict, allow for unimpeded humanitarian access, and commit to a negotiated ceasefire.

-0- PANA MA 24Aug2021