Amnesty International says scores and probably hundreds of civilians have been massacred in the growing conflict in Tigray in northern Ethiopia.

In a statement Amnesty International said it could confirm that “scores, and likely hundreds, of people were stabbed or hacked to death in Mai-Kadra (May Cadera) town in the South West Zone of Ethiopia’s Tigray region on the night of November 9.

Amnesty says it had seen and “digitally verified gruesome photographs and videos of bodies strewn across the town or being carried away on stretchers”.

Witnesses blamed forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) for Monday’s killings but Tigrayan officials have denied that pro-TPLF troops were involved.

Fighting between government forces and the TPLF broke out last week.

This would be the first large-scale killing of civilians in the conflict.

There has been long-standing tension between Ethiopia’s government and the TPLF, which controls Tigray, the country’s northernmost state, and it has boiled over into military clashes, including air strikes by federal forces.

As a result, thousands of civilians have crossed the border into Sudan, which says it will shelter them in a refugee camp.