Africa

UN rights chief urges probe into mass killings in western Ethiopia

- Bachelet says she is horrified by senseless killing of hundreds of people, forced displacement of local population in Tole village

Peter Kenny   | 23.06.2022
UN rights chief urges probe into mass killings in western Ethiopia

GENEVA

The killing of hundreds of people, mostly women and children, by armed attackers in western Ethiopia outraged the UN human rights chief, who on Thursday asked the government to initiate prompt, impartial, and thorough investigations. 

Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement, "I am horrified by the senseless killing as well as the forced displacement of the local population in the attack on Tole village."

"I call on the Ethiopian authorities to ensure that investigations are promptly launched into the attack and to ensure that victims and their families have a right to truth, justice, and reparations, including by holding those responsible to account,” she said.

According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Right (OHCHR)​​​​​​​, the attacks occurred last weekend in western Ethiopia's West Wollega zone, and witnesses have given accounts.

They said around 9 a.m. (local time) on June 18, a group of armed people descended on the village of Tole, with a predominantly Amhara population, and reportedly began shooting randomly, killing hundreds of people, mostly women and children.

The attackers are said to have forced at least 2,000 other people to flee their homes.

It said the armed men also reportedly burned down several houses during the four-hour assault. 

An unspecified number of people are reported to have been abducted during the attack, and their whereabouts remain unknown, said the rights office. 

"I call on the authorities to take all necessary and lawful measures to ensure those abducted regain their freedom," Bachelet urged. 

Amid increasing tensions and violence which has erupted in various regions of Ethiopia in recent weeks, the UN human rights chief urged the government to ensure and protect the right to life.

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