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New ID cards for Ethiopia’s Tigrayan refugees may be proof of ‘systematic’ ethnic cleansing, investigation reveals

An investigation from The Associated Press sheds new light on allegations of ethnic cleansing in Ethiopia. Nine refugees from different communities in the northern Tigray region, home to a months-long violent conflict that began last November, confirmed that authorities in the neighboring Amhara region issued them new identification cards that eliminate “all traces of Tigray.”

One refugee, Seid Mussa Omar, told AP the Amhara authorities now in charge of the Tigrayan city of Humera took his original ID card and burned it before handing him a new one, which AP examined. It was issued in the Amharic language — Seid, a nurse, also said anyone who came to the hospital where he worked was only allowed to speak Amharic — and contained an Amhara stamp with no mention of Tigray anywhere.

It may sound like a small anecdote buried within a story marked by so much physical violence, but AP described the new ID cards as “the latest evidence of a systematic drive by the Ethiopian government and its allies to destroy the Tigrayan people.” As Seid put it, “their aim is to erase Tigray.”

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The Ethiopian government denies involvement in the atrocities and maintains it rejects “any and all notions and practices of ethnic cleansing,” saying it will not “turn a blind eye to such crimes.” Read more at The Associated Press.