Feb. 26, 2021
Best of the Week — First Winner
Determined source work exposes horrific massacre in holy city of Ethiopia’s isolated Tigray region
Ethiopia’s military campaign in its defiant Tigray province has been shrouded in secrecy since the conflict started in November, but AP East Africa correspondent Cara Anna has been determined to report what happened in the virtually sealed-off region. She has chased every lead through relentless source work, building contacts and networks as she reported one exclusive after another.
For this latest exclusive, Anna had been hearing rumors of a massacre in the holy city of Axum. When phone service returned to the city recently, she was able to reach the deacon of the Axum church who described in disturbing detail the mass killings by Eritrean troops. He believes some 800 people were killed that weekend at the church and around the city, and that thousands in Axum have died in all. Anna found other survivors who corroborated the deacon’s story and offered additional details.
Her reporting scooped all other media and even human rights groups who had been investigating Axum. It also drew rare and surprisingly quick responses from the governments of both Eritrea and Ethiopia.
For determined and resourceful reporting to break through the secrecy surrounding the Tigray conflict and expose the atrocity at Axum, Anna wins AP’s Best of the Week award.