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Terror in Tigray - The Ethiopian Refugee Crisis

((PKG: TERROR IN TIGRAY – THE ETHIOPIAN REFUGEE CRISIS TRT: 25:33 Topic Banner: Director/Reporter: Heather Murdock Supervising Editor: Elizabeth Arrott Supervising Producer/Video Editor: Jacquelyn De Phillips Animation: Brian Williamson Director of Photography: Yan Boechat Map: Um Rakouba Camp, Sudan; Tigray, Ethiopia Main characters: 5 females; 6 males)) ((MUSIC/NATS)) ((VO)) What would it take for you to walk out of the door of your house with nothing, run through violence on the streets, and then walk to another country with no food, property, or money? To a place that is already desperately poor, where you don’t speak the language? What terror would have to happen for you to do all this, leaving your three-year-old daughter behind? ((MUSIC)) ((TITLE CARD: Terror in Tigray: The Ethiopian Refugee Crisis)) ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((Montage of news reports from international sources)) (AlJazeera)) Horrifying accounts of human rights abuses continue to emerge from Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region. (CNN) Reports of atrocities and food shortages (BBC) The UN says without significant help things could deteriorate. ((Text on Screen: UM RAKOUBA CAMP, SUDAN)) ((NATS Sound from TV)) [The Ethiopian Prime Minister] said he allowed the grain trucks to go to Tigray, but then they were blocked by the Amhara people in Woldiya. ((NATS/MUSIC: “Shinha Wuley” written and performed by Kbrom Zemu)) ((Haftom Kidu in English)) My name is Haftom Kidu.When I was in my country, I was leading my life in a good way. Just when the war happened, I came here as a refugee people. I don’t have the full information about my family, if they are alive or they are dead. So, in the case of this one, I came here alone. ((VO)) In late 2020, war broke out in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Tens of thousands of people like Haftom fled to camps in Sudan, where they remain with no prospect of going home. More than a million people are displaced inside Ethiopia, and propaganda from both sides makes it hard for outsiders to know what is going on. Phone and internet service has also mostly been cut in Tigray, and roads are often closed. ((Text on Screen: TIGRAY, ETHIOPIA)) ((VO)) When we travel through Tigray in mid-2021, families tell us they collected the bodies of civilians from the streets and buried them in mass graves. They say their homes and businesses have been looted. Hospitals are full of war- injured, including children as young as four. Gabre is a farmer who owns a little bit of land and two cows in a town that has been fought over for months. After what he says was a massacre of civilians it took him three weeks to get his daughter to this hospital. ((NATS)) ((Gabre Hiwet in Tigrinya)) Here she was shot with a gun, and the bullet came out through her hand. ((VO)) Almost all the health care centers in Tigray have been damaged, destroyed, or looted. Every parent we speak to here says the same thing. Their children barely survived, but they did survive. So many other children did not. ((Text on Screen: UM RAKOUBA CAMP, SUDAN)) ((VO)) Families that managed to flee across the border in early 2021 are scattered, and most refugees we meet in the camps have missing loved ones. ((NATS)) ((Haftom Kidu in English)) The hardest are the people which do not have family, like their fathers, their mothers, their sisters, their brothers. They live, some guys, alone. Those people are very sad. They eat, but they think about their family. Maybe some of them, they died. When they think about them, they become sad. ((VO)) This boy does not know where his family is. ((NATS)) ((Nahom Shambel in Tigrinya)) My name is Nahom. I came from Humera [in Ethiopia]. I’m 13 years old. My mom and dad went to get my brother, and they locked me in the house. But when the bomb exploded next to my home, I ran out through the backyard. I thought it was going to hit me in the head. I saw a corpse being eaten by large birds. ((VO)) Michaele Haftu was an artist in Tigray before he escaped with his pregnant wife and small daughter. ((NATS)) ((Michaele Haftu in Tigrinya)) The bombings kept going on for four days. We hoped it would stop in a day or two, but they didn’t fire their weapons at night. So we left at night. We walked through the forest. My wife was already pregnant. There were snakes, hyenas, and scorpions, but my wife said she was tired and sick, so we had to stop to sleep. We saw horrifying things.[Body parts] were scattered. Even the baby, when I ask about Humera (our hometown), she says ‘boom.’ ((Michaele Haftu in Tigrinya, speaking to baby)) What is in Humera? ((Daughter)) Boom. ((VO)) In the rush to escape the war, other parents we meet lost their children.((NATS)) ((Zafu Haftu in Tigrinya)) My name is Zafu Haftu. I came from Baeker in Tigray, but I worked and studied in Humera. I worked in a store. I managed the area where they kept the products, and I was about to finish my studies with a degree in accounting and finance. ((VO)) When Zafu was awarded a scholarship, her husband was angry that she would pursue her education and abandoned her. So Zafu left her daughter in Baeker with her mother while she studied and worked to support them. ((Zafu Haftu in Tigrinya)) I was separated from my daughter because of school. But when we were together, she was so happy. There isn't anything I wouldn't do for her. [When the war started] I tried to go to Baeker to get my daughter. But heavy weapons were being fired, and it was so bad. [The soldiers] said no one is allowed to go there, and they would not let me pass. I couldn’t stay in Humera because there was heavy shelling. So I fled with my landlords to Hamdayet. I had no money, so I relied on them for food for three days. I came with only the clothes I was wearing. I didn’t bring my school or work documents. No one else from my family came here. It was so hard. I was exhausted and couldn't search anymore. I couldn't eat for five or six days. [Her name] is Makeda Gebretsadik. ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((Haftom Kidu in English)) Every person has his own ambition, you know. He needs to be successful. He needs to lead his life in the best way. But when he gets a setback, like [with] this war, when he loses his lover, his girlfriend, his family, his friends, his mother, his father, he becomes hopeless. Just he does not care about his life. Even when he’s going to die, he don’t care. Even there are child, babies under one year old – they do not get enough water, enough food. They may be sick, you know. No one can give them treatment in hospitals. When I look at this, I feel sad. Just, I don’t have the capacity, but if I have, I just need to help them. ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((VO)) Christian Ethiopian refugees in Sudan celebrate the holy day of Epiphany. Ethiopia is religiously diverse, but the country’s divisions are seldom blamed on religious differences. This war, and so many other conflicts in Ethiopia, is between ethnic groups, or perhaps more accurately, as locals often explain, between powerful men who use ethnic divisions to stoke conflict and gain power. Yohanes Neguse is a priest who fled Tigray as bombs exploded near his home in Humera. ((NATS)) ((Priest in Tigrinya)) When a person is weak, even when someone is weak at home, he argues with his children and wife.The Lord said, 'I am peace, and you should live in peace, because I am peace, you should live peacefully and with love.' These are his words. He doesn't allow fighting. Instead, we create weakness and chaos. ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((Text on Screen: AXUM, TIGRAY REGION, ETHIOPIA)) ((VO)) But in Axum, the city believed to be the birthplace of Christianity in Ethiopia, locals tell us it is terror, not weakness, causing the chaos. Hundreds of people were killed in Axum as Ethiopian and Eritrean forces swept through the region. Locals told us varying details about what happened, ranging from mass shootings to house-to-house raids. Consistent in every person’s story, however, were descriptions of so many bodies. ((NATS)) ((Alem Gebreslase in Tigrinya)) They were searching homes door to door in some areas. But most people escaped to the countryside, afraid of what had happened. Nobody could bury the dead bodies. ((VO)) Amnesty International later described what happened in Axum as possible crimes against humanity. Tigray has endured many other war crimes, the organization also says. Thousands of civilians have been killed, and the economy is decimated. By mid-2021, famine was already underway with fears emerging that hunger could be used as a weapon of war. And this is not the first time. ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((VO)) In the 1980s, the world watched as war and famine ravaged Ethiopia. More than 300,000 Ethiopian refugees fled to Sudan then, most of them from Tigray. In the camps, many of the refugees are returning for the second time. ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((VO)) As hard as it was then, they tell us, it is, in some ways, even harder now. ((NATS)) ((Berhane Mesele in Tigrinya)) This time it is worse. This time it is too much. People are being burned alive, and homes and churches are being destroyed. My name is Berhane Mesele and I am 74. Listen, let me tell you. Almost everyone was killed. People die in front of you. When you flee, you see people's bodies scattered as they were killed, falling and shaking. Now, what can I say? You know how it is. We are happy to get these shelters here. ((MUSIC/NATS)) ((VO)) Decades of war ended in 1991, with the toppling of a repressive military government. A Tigrayan military fighter Meles Zenawi, emerged to lead a new government of ethnic federalism - which divided the country along ethnic lines. The Ethiopian economy grew fast, but political repression continued. Territorial disputes with neighbors, including the newly independent Eritrea, once part of Ethiopia, turned into armed conflict. Resentment grew of Tigrayans, who make up 6% of the population but the Tigrayan elite dominated the country politically. After Meles' death in 2012, a period of unrest continued until 2018, when a young, ethnic Oromo, Abiy Ahmed, rose to power. He made peace with Eritrea and instituted democratic reforms, earning him a Nobel Peace Prize the following year. But when Tigray held local elections in defiance of the central government, a simmering rift quickly escalated. In November 2020, the government accused Tigrayan forces of attacking a military base, and launched an offensive. The central government, backed by Eritrean forces and Amhara militias, is fighting Tigrayan regional forces and militias. Both sides have claimed the other started the war. ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((Haftom Kidu in English)) Amhara people they told for the Tigray, ‘We are superior to you.’ ‘We are superior to you,'' they told.And Tigray people they told Amhara people, ‘We are superior to you.’ So, when we come to this one, how they can make peace between them? ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((VO)) The hostility is real, but it is fueled by cyclical violence and leaders encouraging animosity for their own gain, not ancient hatreds. Tigrayan and Amhara people have lived together in peace and intermarried for as long as anyone can remember. ((Michaele Haftu in Tigrinya)) My wife is Amhara, and I am Tigrayan. If she comes to my village, she can live. No one will touch her. But if I have to go to Amhara, they will kill me for sure. ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((VO)) When people get to the camps in Sudan, it is often not clear how to get shelters, food, and water, or if it’s available at all. Haftom rarely has extra money from the small jobs he picks up around the camps, so he tries to help people by sharing information. ((NATS)) ((Haftom Kidu in English)) I need to help. When I help the people, my brain gets peace. My brain, it becomes in a good condition. Even I believe when you do good things, those good things come back to you. If they do not come back to me, they can come back to my child, they can come back to my family, even to all my country. So, helping for the people is my first interest. ((VO)) It’s a principle he’s held since before the war when he worked to improve business and agricultural practices for farmers like his parents. ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((VO)) But finding help is especially difficult for those who are already disabled or sick, like Michaele and his wife, who are HIV positive. ((NATS)) ((Michaele Haftu in Tigrinya)) At first, we didn’t get the [HIV] medications for three days. But since I reported my health status here, I’ve had them. ((Reporter)) Do you get enough food? ((Michaele Haftu in Tigrinya)) Where is food? It doesn't come. We buy food when someone gives us money like you [Haftom] did the other day. We can’t eat the food they give us, but we are surviving. With HIV, it is hard to eat just anything. ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((Zafu Haftu in Tigrinya)) Local Sudanese people have helped more than the organizations. People here are not happy. There are five people in a room, and there are fights. ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((Nahom Shambel in Tigrinya)) Here I don’t have a blanket or a map to sleep on. Do you know where I slept yesterday? Over there is a military school and a playground. I slept there with no blanket and no mat. ((Reporter in Tigrinya)) Is there an organization you can go to that takes care of children who are alone without their parents? ((Nahom Shambel in Tigrinya)) They said it’s full. ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((VO)) Even if he could get in, Nahom says he doesn’t want to stay with an organization. He says the children are not free to roam the camp, and he’s heard they don’t get enough food. ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((VO)) Haftom takes another boy, 16, who is alone in the camp to the organization, and he too is told they have as many children as they can support. ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((Haftom Kidu in English)) So, he has no family.They say for us, ‘We cannot do anything now.’ ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((VO)) Even Haftom, who positions himself as someone to help the most vulnerable, sees no future for himself here in the camp, in Sudan, or in returning to Tigray. ((NATS)) ((Haftom Kidu in English)) I lost my home, even my document. I have already graduated. When I go back home, I really cannot get my document. Really, they already burn out. They can throw it on the road. That gives me, like hopeless, like disappointed. ((NATS)) ((Zafu Haftu in Tigrinya)) [After the last war] we went home when they told us there was peace. We went back to our homes with a little help from the Red Cross. When we [returned to Ethiopia] my mother's siblings were killed. My story is like this. I am repeating her story. If I find my family, I will bring them here. I won’t live there. ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((VO)) World leaders have accused all parties-- the Ethiopian military, the Eritrean military, and militias associated with the Tigray and Amhara parties-- of human rights abuses. But government forces and their allies have been accused of mass murders, forced removals, and ethnically motivated violence, including systematic mass rape. Hundreds of women and girls from across Tigray have reported being raped by soldiers. And aid workers say there are likely many, many more who have kept silent out of fear, shame, or just lack of access to any kind of health care. The stories they tell us are eerily similar. Soldiers came to their houses, demanding to know where a husband, father, or brother was, insisting he was a rebel fighter. When the man did not appear, a wife, daughter, or sister was attacked. ((Rape Survivor, 16, in Tigrinya)) They pointed a gun at me and shouted, ‘We know your father is a fighter. Give us his guns!’ ((Rape Survivor, 33, in Tigrinya)) I told them, 'I don't know where my husband is. I haven't heard from him since he left.’ ((Rape Survivor, 22, in Tigrinya))Then they raped me, and the baby was crying the whole time. ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((VO)) The Ethiopian government has arrested dozens of soldiers accused of rape but has been mostly silent on the issue. The government has also acknowledged many other abuses but blames Tigrayan forces, who it designated a terrorist organization. For many refugees, returning to Tigray is not an option. Some fear the conflict could even spread to the camps. ((MUSIC/NATS)) ((Michaele Haftu in Tigrinya)) Even now, we are very scared to be here because we can see on TV that [pro-government] militants say, ‘even if they are in a camp in Sudan, we can bring them here [back to Ethiopia] by force.’ Our lives are in danger. If the world can see and hear us, we need a solution. ((VO)) Rights organizations and other leaders have called upon the Ethiopian government to hold peace talks. But the conflict continues as alarming reports of extreme hunger and famine emerge amid fears the humanitarian crisis will continue to deepen. ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((Michaele Haftu in Tigrinya)) We were forced out of our country, and now the world is watching us die again. I suppose the world is blind. ((NATS/MUSIC)) ((CREDITS: Narrator/Reporter/Director: Heather Murdock Supervising Producer/Video Editor: Jacquelyn De Phillips Supervising Editor: Elizabeth Arrott Director of Photography: Yan Boechat Animator: Brian Williamson Motion Graphics Designer: Chin Soo Park Consulting Producer: Gary Butterworth Consulting Producer: Luis Ramirez Executive Producer: John Lippman Sudan: Field Producer: Yassir Haron Second camera: Mohaned Bilal Translators: Yared Abraha Philimon Desta Haftom Kidu Ethiopia: Field Producer: Elias Hailemariam Translators: Romha Tesfaye Alayt Temesgen “Shinha Wuley” written and performed by: Kbrom Zemu Music composed and performed by: ISAAC Additional music: Alexander Biruk Special Thanks To: Brian Allen Deepak Dobhal Steven Ferri Amy Katz Yolanda Lopez Bill Rogers Salem Solomon Leslie Washington)) Cut 18 TC02.30 Not in new VO TC Cut 183:44 Cut 18 TC6.01 Cut 18 TC9.19 Cut 18 TC10.48 Cut 18 TC12.20 Cut 18 TC13.57 Cut 18 TC15:17 Do you have the TC for the in and out? Or could check the clip 24A9310 Michaela INTV.mp4 in Frame?I have marked the clip where I think the in and out should be. Cut 18 TC17:06 Cut 18 TC18:56 Cut 18 TC20:50 Cut 18 TC22.22 1