At least 34 civilians from the Amhara ethnic group were killed on Sunday in the Oromia region of western Ethiopia in an attack by an armed group, the Ethiopian Rights Commission said on Monday. humans, which speaks of a “massacre”.
The NGO Amnesty International (AI), based on testimonies of survivors, for its part reported 54 dead – men, women and children – all members of the Amarha ethnic group, the largest in the country after the ethnic group. oromo.
The Oromia regional authorities had earlier accused the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) of carrying out this attack in the Wollega area.
“Peaceful citizens have been killed […] in a horrible way, ”they had indicated in a press release, without giving an assessment.
This violence takes place against a backdrop of growing ethnic violence which is putting pressure on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner and from the same region of Oromia.
“Official figures show the death of 34 civilians, but the first clues obtained by the EHRC suggest that it is very likely that the (real) toll exceeds this initial count,” said the Ethiopian Commission of human rights which specifies that “the attackers targeted members of the Amhara ethnic group”.
A survivor, reached on Monday by AFP by phone, said he saw more than 50 bodies. He said the assailants attacked shortly after the sudden and unexplained withdrawal of soldiers stationed in the area.
“After they gathered us together, they opened fire on us, before looting the cattle and burning houses,” said this witness on condition of anonymity for security reasons. “I counted more than 50 bodies and I know that other (people) have been hit by bullets.”
The EHRC “urges the federal and regional authorities to quickly open an independent investigation into this killing and to shed light on the reasons for the withdrawal of the military from this area long known to be vulnerable to attack.”
Dessalegn Chanie, a NAMA official, estimated Monday that “up to 200 Amhara were cruelly killed” in the attack on Sunday, while admitting that an accurate toll was difficult to establish.
“Survivors I spoke with earlier today weren’t sure how many dead because they just ran” into the forest, he said.
In September and October, two deadly attacks targeted members of the Amhara community in the Ethiopian state of Benishangul-Gumuz, neighboring Oromia.
In mid-October, Mr. Abiy called on Khartoum to stabilize its Blue Nile region, bordering Benishangul-Gumuz, affirming that the combatants who carried out these attacks were armed and trained there.
These various forms of violence show that the openness advocated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed freed local territorial ambitions and old inter-community disputes, which led to deadly violence in many regions of the country.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr