A new report Thursday from Amnesty International said scores of civilians were killed in the Tigray region of Ethiopia earlier this week.
“We have confirmed the massacre of a very large number of civilians who appear to have been day laborers, in no way involved in the ongoing military offensive,” Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International director for east and southern Africa, said in a press release.
“This is a horrific tragedy whose true extent only time will tell as communication in Tigray remains shut down,” the organization said.
The report said the bodies were found Monday in Mai-Kadra in the southwestern part of the region. Amnesty International said it had not confirmed who was responsible for the killings.
Tensions have been building in the region since September 9 when Tigray, the northernmost of Ethiopia’s nine regional states, defiantly held a regional election after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed postponed the polls, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Early reports say hundreds have died in the fighting. The internet has been shut down since the beginning of the unrest, a factor that analysts say is leading to a lack of information to assess humanitarian needs.
According to U.N. figures, over 7,000 Ethiopians have fled the Tigray region into neighboring Sudan.