Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

More than 250 killed in Ethiopia's Oromia region

More than 250 people mostly from the Amhara ethnic group, have been killed in an attack in the Oromia region of Ethiopia on Saturday. 

The attack reportedly began around 09:00 on Saturday and continued until about 13.00. Calls were made by residents to district authorities but help only came hours later.

"[Regional] special forces and the army arrived late in the afternoon around five. No-one came to help us until then," one resident said speaking to the BBC.

An advocacy group, the Amhara Association of America, puts the death toll at 378 and says it has identified 176 victims by name. Another witness told the BBC that in addition to those killed on the spot, some were abducted by the attackers.

"After they took them, they killed them in the woods. Fifty bodies were found in place in the forest," he said.

"They went into the houses of Amharic speakers and began killing," he continued.

In the village of Gutu eight people were killed after their houses were set ablaze and another 35 people were also buried in the village, and in the village of Silsaw 102 people were buried, he added.

Witnesses and the Oromia regional government have blamed the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) for the attack, however, a spokesperson for the OLA denied the allegations and claimed that the Ethiopian government was once again blaming the OLA for crimes it had committed. 



Speaking to the Associated Press Odaa Tarbii said “The attack you are referring to was committed by the regime’s military and local militia as they retreated from their camp in Gimbi following our recent offensive,”.

Tarbii went on to tweet that the Government-backed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) was incapable of holding anyone accountable, as the body had proven itself "to be too partisan" and then called for "independent investigations".



Speaking to the Associated Press, Abdul-Seid Tahir who escaped the attack on Saturday said “I have counted 230 bodies. I am afraid this is the deadliest attack against civilians we have seen in our lifetime,”.

“We are burying them in mass graves, and we are still collecting bodies. Federal army units have now arrived, but we fear that the attacks could continue if they leave,” he added.

Another witness, who gave only his first name, Shambel, over fears for his safety, said the local Amhara community is now desperately seeking to be relocated somewhere else “before another round of mass killings happen”.

He said ethnic Amhara that settled in the area about 30 years ago in resettlement programmes are now being “killed like chickens”.

Ethiopia is experiencing widespread ethnic tensions in several regions. Thousands of people have been killed, and several million others have been displaced from their homes as a result of the fighting between forces loyal to Abiy and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and their allies.

Earlier this year, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) highlighted the ongoing crisis occurring in Tigray, stating that there is nowhere on earth where "people are more at risk".

Read more at Al Jazeera and BBC News

We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.

For more ways to donate visit https://donate.tamilguardian.com.