“These cumulative damage assessments show a campaign to degrade, destroy both the Hitsats and Shimelba refugee camps from November 24 to January 27,” the DX Open Network said in a statement yesterday. “There are clear and consistent patterns across both camps over a two month period demonstrating that these refugee camps were systematically targeted, despite their protected humanitarian status.”The breakout of war between the former Tigray regional government and Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers has left thousands dead and internally displaced over 2.3 million people. Widespread destruction, the result of attacks targeting urban city centers, heritage sites, and refugee camps, has also been documented.The Hitsats and Shimelba camps had come under attack soon after the breakout of war, and fighting at the Hitsats camp between allied Ethiopian and Eritrean troops and forces loyal to the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) was reported in November. Refugees have been reportedly targeted and killed by both Tigrayan and Eritrean forces, while others were abducted and taken back to Eritrea. At least four humanitarian aid workers have been killed at the camps.
The damage also appears to now be much more extensive than originally thought, with over a thousand structures destroyed.
“Also present in satellite imagery are groups of military-use vehicles, including a mechanised formation bivouacking in an elementary and secondary school compound within Shimelba Refugee Camp,” the DX Open Network told VICE World News. “The presence of military actors soon after the widespread razing of both camps raises questions as to whether these military actors are the same as the perpetrators of the fire-based attacks and other violence at and around the camps.”
“The presence of military actors soon after the widespread razing of both camps raises questions as to whether these military actors are the same as the perpetrators of the fire-based attacks and other violence at and around the camps.”