HRW accuses Ethiopia military of war crimes while fighting rebels

Ethiopia's government is committing war crimes in its military campaign against rebels in the Ogaden region, a rights group charged Thursday in a report that complained the U.S. and other Western governments have remained silent about abuses. New York-based Human Rights Watch said Ethiopian troops are beating and strangling civilians, staging public executions and burning villages in Ogaden. It said the allegations were based on more than 100 eyewitness accounts. An Ethiopian official denied the charges. Washington looks to Ethiopia for help in the fight against Islamic extremists in East Africa, where al-Qaida has claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 225 people. Ethiopia is helping the U.N.-backed government in neighboring Somalia against Muslim insurgents.