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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday described violence in Ethiopia's Tigray region as "ethnic cleansing" as he pressed for an investigation and the exit of Eritrean troops.
Testifying before Congress, Blinken said he wanted the region to see security forces "that will not abuse the human rights of the people of Tigray or commit acts of ethnic cleansing which we've seen in western Tigray."
"That has to stop. We also need full accountability," Blinken said in response to a question at the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
"We need to get an independent investigation into what took place there, and we need some kind of process, a reconciliation process so that the country can move forward politically."
Multiple reports have implicated troops from neighboring Eritrea, which denies a military presence, in mass killings in the northern Ethiopian region.
An AFP journalist recently visited the village of Dengolat where residents recounted a massacre by troops wearing military uniforms and speaking an Eritrean dialect of the Tigrinya language.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, launched a military campaign in November after blaming the region's ruling party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front, for attacks on army camps.
"I very much understand the concerns, for example, that the prime minister had about the TPLF and its actions, but the situation in Tigray today is unacceptable and has to change," Blinken said.
"We have, as you know, forces from Eritrea over there, and we have forces from an adjoining region, Amhara, that are there. They need to come out."