Rebel forces from Ethiopia's Tigray region denied reports Wednesday that they had killed dozens of civilians over a two-day period in the Amhara area.
The Reuters news agency reported Wednesday that regional authorities said 120 civilians were killed between September 1 and 2.
Local officials told Reuters that they had recovered bodies which appeared to be those of farmers in a village roughly 10 kilometers from the town of Dabat.
The Tigray People's Liberation Front released a statement later Wednesday rejecting what they termed "a fabricated allegation."
"We reiterate our call for an independent investigation into all atrocities, and our willingness to facilitate media access to areas under our control for independent verification of any allegations," said Getachew Reda, spokesperson for the TPLF.
Reuters noted that if confirmed, the incident would mark the first mass killings by Tigray forces since they claimed control over territory in the Amhara region.
On June 28, the Ethiopian government announced an immediate and unilateral humanitarian cease-fire after nearly eight months of fighting with Tigrayan forces. But hostilities have continued, and the prime minister recently urged all Ethiopians to join the fight.
Tigray forces reclaimed control of the regional capital, Mekelle, after government forces withdrew. In the weeks since the cease-fire was announced, they have expanded their presence into the neighboring regions of Afar and Amhara, where fighting has escalated, displacing tens of thousands of civilians.
The TPLF, which ruled Ethiopia for three decades, now controls Tigray. The TPLF-led authority administering the region says it is the Tigray Regional Government; Ethiopian federal authorities say that government was dissolved and that a provisional administration has the mandate in Tigray.
Source: Voice of America