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All-formats exclusive reveals deadly spread of Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict

Senait Ambaw, left, who said her home had been destroyed by artillery, leaves by foot along a path near the village of Chenna Teklehaymanot, in the Amhara region of northern Ethiopia, Sept. 9, 2021. At the scene of one of the deadliest battles of Ethiopia's 10-month Tigray conflict, witness accounts reflected the blurring line between combatant and civilian after the federal government urged all capable citizens to stop Tigray forces “once and for all.” (AP Photo)

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Freelancer Amir Aman Kiyaro and Nairobi-based East Africa correspondent Cara Anna were the first to report on one of the deadliest battles of Ethiopia’s 10-month conflict in Tigray. Kiyaro’s reporting and images showed for the first time fresh graves and traumatized residents on the shifting front lines.

After being contacted by the Nairobi bureau, Kiyaro, based in Addis Ababa, reached out to regional authorities and other sources and, in coordination with AP Global Security, was able to establish that the scene of the fighting was accessible. He went north from Addis, renting a car to take him closer to the scene, then walking in the rain with Ethiopian forces for several hours to reach the village of Chenna Teklehaymanot. Fleeing villagers told him how they had already buried scores of their dead, including women, children and priests trapped during the fighting with advancing Tigrayan forces.

Kiyaro’s careful planning had him back in Addis the same night,where he worked swiftly to file video and photos, and worked with Anna to produce a text story to explain what he had seen. The quick handling delivered video and photos used widely around the world. A Human Rights Watch researcher said: “The complexities of how the conflict is unfolding in Amhara region hadn’t been really captured until your piece.” Even competitive agencies complimented the remarkable work.

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