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Bound bodies dredged from Sudan-Tigray border river

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Ben Curtis/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Sudan

Ethiopian refugees and Sudanese locals have been burying dozens of bodies have been found floating down the Setit River in southwestern Sudan in the past week

Witnesses say they are ethnic killings committed by Ethiopian government forces on Tigrayans, and that the bodies are being dumped to conceal the evidence.

Garey Youhanis, Ethiopian from Tigray living in Sudan, who helped retrieve bodies from Setit river and bury them says:

"We found that man with his hands tied with a red plastic cord. Everyone else was tied with yellow electric cables. None of them had identifying documents on them. These people were in Humera, but they are not from there. They are from Tigray."

Tewodros Tefera, a surgeon who fled the nearby Tigrayan city of Humera to Sudan, told The Associated Press some of the bodies had bullet wounds, or signs of mutilation.

By his count 43 people had been pulled from the river.

_"So far in the last one week 43 bodies were buried around this river, six of these were buried by the local community." _

While it was difficult to identify them, one had a common name in the Tigray language, Tigrinya, tattooed on his arm, the surgeon said.

A Sudanese official said on Monday that local authorities in Kassala province had found around 50 bodies over the previous week.

Speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media, the official said a forensic investigation was needed to determine the causes of death.

The river flows through some of the most troubled areas of the nine-month conflict in Tigray, where ethnic Tigrayans have accused Ethiopian and allied forces of atrocities while battling Tigray forces.

An Ethiopian government-created Twitter account this week called the accounts of bodies a fake campaign by "propagandists" among the Tigray forces.

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