New video of Ethiopia massacre shows soldiers passing phone around to document their executions

A few scattered human bones lay on the rocky ground, along with a broken skull and several half-burned identification cards.

That is all the villagers could find, six months after Ethiopian troops rounded up their loved ones and shot them at point-blank range, throwing the bodies off a rocky hillside deep in the mountains of central Tigray in Ethiopia.

An April 2021 CNN investigation, in collaboration with Amnesty International, examined video clips of the January massacre and used geolocation techniques to verify the video was filmed on a ridge near Mahibere Dego in January 2021. The investigation revealed at the time that at least 11 unarmed men were executed, and 39 others were unaccounted for.


CNN was sent the gruesome footage in March this year by a pro-Tigray media organization, the Tigrai Media House (TMH). TMH told CNN at the time that the video was filmed on a mobile phone by an Ethiopian army soldier turned whistleblower involved in the mass killing.

An additional longer video clip of the massacre has now been shared with CNN by TMH, revealing new details about the atrocity and the soldiers behind it.

CNN used geolocation techniques to determine the extended footage was also filmed at the ridge near Mahibere Dego. A voice at the end of the new clip identifies the Ethiopian soldier filming the video as "Fafi." He also reveals his military brigade and division.

In the extended video seen by CNN, Fafi swaps the phone with another soldier, takes the gun and shoots. The phone is then swapped back as others clamor to be filmed executing the captives, brazenly documenting their crimes. This extended footage has all the hallmarks of a trophy video and yet -- despite the evidence -- the Ethiopian Prime Minister's Office dismissed the findings of CNN's original investigation saying, "social media posts and claims cannot be taken as evidence."


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