" take care of my children", were Letay's last words. The woman gave birth in the gunfire, a few steps from home. She huddled in pain under the thatched roof, beside her husband Abraha hoped that the din would cover the screams of Labor. Aden and Turfu, twin girls, were born like this, with their mother's voice protecting them from the roar of fire. They were born and thousands of lives were extinguished: they came to light during the massacre of Mai Kadra, the bloody ethnic cleansing operation that on 9 and 10 November last led to the extermination of more than a thousand civilians in the town of Tigray.
The story of the escape of this family, hovering between life and death, has devoted a precious photo essays of the Ap (here are some of the images), which sheds light on the “invisible war” that is destroying this region of Ethiopia on the border with Sudan. The offensive of oromo president Abiy Ahmed, who started six months ago to unseat the leader of the rebel region, has turned into a campaign to destroy the Tigran minority, with entire families starved, dispersed, killed. A humanitarian disaster that overwhelms 4 and a half million of the 6 inhabitants of the region.
< br/> among the million displaced, Abraha's family. That morning of November 9th, Abraha and Letay, with their baby bump, had hidden among the weeds along with their children Micheale, 5, and Daniel, 11. In silence they waited for hours for darkness to come so they could return home. Just in time: the next day Letay (pictured next) would give birth. Then the malaise, for postpartum complications. Too dangerous to go to the hospital. A week later, before exhaling the last breath, the recommendation to her husband: "take care of my children, I'm going to die, I'm very sorry."
Abraha with the gemelline, Aden and Turfu (Ap)
Abraha, the face scooped and scored despite its 40 years, is living together with his sons with the help of a few neighbors were there, of the other ethnic groups. One amhara elder provided him with food; another, of wolkait ethnicity, provided him with false documents useful for escape. The neighbor amhara then one day also accompanied them to the checkpoint and guaranteed for them: "this family is amhara, they can pass," he assured the soldiers. The military also found a passage for the family as far as Humera, a stone's throw from the sudanese border.
< br/> despite knowing that he was risking his life, Abraha then decides to dare, try to escape to Sudan, four and a half hours walk. Hidden among the undergrowth, he and his four sons arrive at the banks of the river Tekeze that the sun is already high. They cross it on floating canisters tied together. He didn't know how to swim, but he knew he had to keep his promise to Letay. "Once" on board " the tension subsided, our lives were no longer in danger. The Twins had also stopped crying. At that point I was sure that the children would grow up, that things would change," the father told The Ap.
< br/> arriving exhausted in Sudan, with the little ones severely malnourished, to a nurse of Doctors Without Borders who asked about her mother, Abraha had only the strength to pull out a photo of her. She was with them, too.