Witnesses in Ethiopia say more than 200 people, largely ethnic Amhara, were killed in an attack in the country’s Oromia region on Sunday, and they blame a rebel group, which claims responsibility.
As ethnic tensions persist in Africa’s second most populous country, this is one of the bloodiest such attacks in recent memory.
“I counted 230 bodies,” says the narrator. After narrowly escaping the attack on Saturday, Abdul-Seid Tahir, a native of Gimbi county, told the media, “I am afraid this is the bloodiest strike against civilians we have witnessed in our lifetime.” “We’re still gathering dead and burying them in mass graves.” Although federal army soldiers have come, we are concerned that once they depart, the attacks would resume.”
Another witness, who asked only to be identified by his first name, Shambel, for fear of being killed, claimed the local Amhara population is now anxiously wanting to be transferred “before another wave of mass executions occurs.” He claims that ethnic Amhara who were resettled in the region roughly 30 years ago are now being “slaughtered like chickens.”
Both witnesses attributed the assaults on the Oromo Liberation Army. The Oromia regional administration accused the OLA in a statement, claiming the rebels attacked “after being unable to withstand (federal) security forces’ operations.”
Odaa Tarbii, an OLA spokesman, disputed the charges.
In a message to the media, he stated, “The attack you are referring to was conducted by the regime’s military and local militia as they evacuated from their camp in Gimbi following our recent onslaught.” “They retreated to Tole, where they assaulted and damaged the local population’s property in punishment for their alleged support for the OLA.” When the strikes happened, our fighters hadn’t yet arrived in that region.”
In numerous parts of Ethiopia, ethnic hostilities are pervasive, with the majority of them stemming from historical grievances and political difficulties. The Amhara people, Ethiopia’s second-largest ethnic group with over 110 million people, have been attacked several times in locations such as Oromia.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, which is established by the government, called on the federal government to find a “long-term solution” to the killing of civilians and to safeguard them from such assaults on Sunday.