In this file photo taken on March 27, 2020 an exterior view of the building of US Department of the Treasury is seen in Washington, DC. - The United States imposed sanctions on August 23, 2021 on a senior Eritrean military leader for engaging in "serious human rights abuse" during the conflict in Tigray. AFP
The United States imposed sanctions on Monday on a senior Eritrean military leader for engaging in "serious human rights abuse" during the conflict in Tigray.
The US Treasury Department said forces under the command of General Filipos Woldeyohannes, chief of staff of the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF), are responsible for "massacres, looting, and sexual assaults."
"EDF troops have raped, tortured, and executed civilians; they have also destroyed property and ransacked businesses," the department said in a statement.
"The EDF have purposely shot civilians in the street and carried out systematic house-to-house searches, executing men and boys, and have forcibly evicted Tigrayan families from their residences and taken over their houses and property."
The Treasury Department said any property or interests of Woldeyohannes in the United States would be frozen and US citizens are barred from conducting any business with him.
"The Treasury Department will continue to take action against those involved in serious human rights abuse around the world, including in the Tigray region of Ethiopia," said Andrea Gacki, director of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control.
"Such acts further exacerbate the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis," Gacki said in a statement.
"We urge Eritrea to immediately and permanently withdraw its forces from Ethiopia, and urge the parties to the conflict to begin ceasefire negotiations and end human rights abuses," Gacki said.
The Treasury Department said the ongoing conflict in Tigray "has exacerbated a humanitarian crisis that threatens hundreds of thousands of lives."
"Despite the Ethiopian government's June 28 unilateral ceasefire declaration, parties on all sides continue to escalate the conflict," it said. "These escalatory actions risk furthering a severe humanitarian crisis."