"Serious violations of international law, possibly amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, may have been committed" in restive Tigray region, says UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet.

Members of the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) prepare to head to mission in Sanja, Amhara region, near a border with Tigray, Ethiopia on November 9, 2020.
Members of the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) prepare to head to mission in Sanja, Amhara region, near a border with Tigray, Ethiopia on November 9, 2020. (Reuters)

UN rights chief has said her office corroborated a range of grave violations that could amount to "war crimes and crimes against humanity" in Ethiopia's Tigray region, including by Eritrean troops.

Michelle Bachelet said in a statement on Thursday that her office "managed to corroborate information about some of the incidents that occurred in November last year, indicating indiscriminate shelling in Mekelle, Humera and Adigrat towns in Tigray region, and reports of grave human rights violations and abuses including mass killings in Axum, and in Dengelat in central Tigray by Eritrean armed forces."

"Serious violations of international law, possibly amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, may have been committed," she said.

READ MORE: US 'gravely concerned' over situation in Ethiopia's Tigray

Tigray conflict 

Ethiopia’s military ousted the former local ruling party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), from the regional capital Mekelle in November, after what it described as a surprise assault on its forces in Tigray.

Thousands of people have died, hundreds of thousands have been forced from homes and there are shortages of food, water and medicine around the region of more than 5 million people.

The government has said that most fighting has stopped in Tigray but has acknowledged isolated incidents of shooting.

Both sides deny their forces have committed atrocities, and blame other forces for the killing of civilians.

Ethiopia and Eritrea have denied the involvement of Eritrean troops in the conflict alongside Ethiopian forces, although dozens of witnesses, diplomats and an Ethiopian general have reported their presence.

Source: AFP