World, Africa

Ethiopian rights watchdog condemns ethnic killings

54 people lost lives in alleged rebel attack in Ethiopia’s restive Oromia region, following withdrawal of federal forces

Addis Getachew Tadesse  | 03.11.2020 - Update : 03.11.2020
Ethiopian rights watchdog condemns ethnic killings


A widespread condemnation is pouring in against the killing of 54 people in an alleged rebel attack in Ethiopia’s restive Oromia region at the weekend.

Many people blacked out their profile pictures on social media, as a mark of protest.

In a statement Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) also condemned the killings of civilians.

Quoting eyewitnesses, the EHRC stated that around 60 armed assailants attacked Gawa-Kanka, Gilla-Gogola, and Seka-Jerbi kebeles (localities) on Nov. 1, soon after the withdrawal of federal forces form the region.

The suspected members of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) targeted ethnic Amharas residing in these three kabeles.

“They [people] were dragged from their homes and taken to a school, where they were killed,” said the EHRC.

While officials have put the death toll at 32, global human rights watchdog Amnesty International has said that a least 54 people were killed in the rebel attack. The survivors have counted 54 bodies in a schoolyard in the village of Gawa Qanqa.

“These gruesome killings of civilians are unconscionable and flout basic principles of humanity,” said Daniel Bekele, chief commissioner of EHRC.

“No amount of grievance can justify such brutality, and perpetrators should be held to account, “he said.

Federal authorities have blamed the Oromo Liberation Army for carrying out the attacks and said that women and children were also among the victims.

The EHRC has urged federal and regional authorities to promptly launch an independent investigation into the killings and explain the reasons behind the military’s withdrawal from the area, vulnerable to attacks. It has also called on authorities to ensure justice to victims and their families.

This incident is the latest in a tragic spate of massacres in Ethiopia over four weeks.

At least a dozen civilians were killed in Gura Ferda Woreda in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region in October. Several other people lost their lives in the Afar Region that same month.

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