Testimony of Toka Binegid

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December 26, 2012 by neverforgetcampaign

Nationality: Ethiopian

Gender: male

Date of imprisonment: February 1937

Camps of imprisonment:

Fit-Ber prison, Ethiopia, February 1937

Source: Command of his Imperial Majesty (Ed.), 1950, Documents on Italian War Crimes submitted to the United Nations War Crimes Commission by the Imperial Ethiopian Government, Vol. 2: Affidavits and published documents, Addis Abeba: Ministry of Justice, p. 14-15: Extract from Affidavit No. 31.

Note: The affidavits were collected after the war from many parts of Ethiopia and each was sworn before a judge or magistrate or public official. In cases where the witness was illiterate his deposition was written down in Amharic and then read over to him before the Judge or official appointed for the purpose. English translations were prepared for submission to the United Nations War Crimes Commission, and these have since been revised and checked with the originals for publication.

I, the undersigned, name: Captain Toka Binegid, age: 33 years, profession: Commanding Officer at the Fire Brigade, address: Addis Ababa, do hereby take oath and declare as follows: (…)

(2) I state the following facts of the massacre which took place on the 12th of Yekatit, 1928 following the attempt on Graziani’s life:

(a) Nobles and inhabitants of the town of Addis Ababa were ordered to assemble at the Upper Palace on Yekatit 12th on St. Michael’s Day. Just when all the people were assembled bomb explosions were heard. After that there was a big confusion and pell-mell all over the town.

(b) Our commanding officer at the Fire Brigade, called Tenente Mafui, without knowing the cause, told us that we must go where the fire had started and took us to Sidist Kilo.

(c) Just when we arrived there we saw the Italians burning the houses intentionally, so our officer ordered us not to put out the fire, saying that he understood what it was all about.

(d) While still standing there we saw many people being killed by Italians while trying to escape from burning houses.

(3) The Italians divided themselves into different formations: while some of them were murdering, some collected the corpses and threw them on the trucks. They were gathering the corpses from the roads with iron rakes. Among the persons who were pulled by the iron rakes many were alive.

Furthermore I saw Italian soldiers being photographed while standing on the dead bodies of their victims. The burning of houses and killing of the people which started on Friday at about 12 o’clock (Ethiopian time) continued up to Monday morning. Therefore many persons (it is difficult to calculate their number) were killed. And I saw also many houses burnt.

(4) We, the Fire Brigade Section, were specially ordered not to put out the fires in any houses other than Italian ones. Then we understood that their scheme for committing atrocities was a big one. While a priest was trying to hide himself at St. George’s cathedral compound in a tomb, I saw, while standing at the Fire Brigade, a certain Italian sergeant pursuing the priest, and he killed him with a pistol. On Friday night many Fascist officers assembled in the compound of St. George’s cathedral. They sprinkled many drums of petrol on the cathedral and threw incendiary bombs all the night.

(5) There were at least 10.000 persons detained in Fit-Ber prison, deprived of water and food. On the third day after the attempt, i.e., on the Monday, we took drinking, water with us and went to visit the prisoners. There, when they were struggling to quench their thirst, the Italians struck them with bludgeons and stabbed them with bayonets.

Courtesy of www.campifascisti.it

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