Survivors count 54 dead after Ethiopia massacre, group says
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Amnesty International says survivors of a massacre by rebels in western Ethiopia on Sunday counted 54 bodies in a schoolyard, the latest attack in which members of ethnic minorities have been deliberately targeted.
Human rights groups are asking why federal soldiers left the area just hours before attackers moved in. Ethiopia's government has blamed a rebel group, the Oromo Liberation Army. The head of the Oromia region police commission told the state broadcaster the death toll was 32.
Ethiopia's prime minister has denounced the killing of people based on identity, adding that security forces have been deployed to the area and “have started taking measures."
Ethnic violence in Ethiopia is posing the greatest challenge yet to the prime minister, last year's Nobel Peace Prize winner for his sweeping political reforms.
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Ethiopian officials said Monday an unspecified number of civilians including children have been “massacred” in what they described as a terror attack on Sunday evening in the far western part of the Oromia region.
Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, in a Facebook post denounced the killing of people based on identity. “Ethiopia’s enemies are vowing either to rule the country or ruin it, and they are doing everything they can to achieve this,” he said. “One of their tactics is to arm civilians and carry out barbaric attacks based on identity. (For me) this is heartbreaking.”
Security forces have been deployed to the area and “have started taking measures,” he said.
It was not immediately clear how many people were killed. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission cited an official figure of 32 dead but said preliminary evidence it obtained “indicate the number is very likely to exceed that tally.”
Attackers numbered up to 60 and they arrived after federal soldiers withdrew from the area earlier Sunday, the commission said in a statement, citing sources. The attackers targeted ethnic Amharas, it said: “They were dragged from their homes and taken to a school, where they were killed.”
The commission urged the federal government to “shed light on the reasons behind the military’s withdrawal from an area long known to be vulnerable to attacks” and to make sure civilians are protected. Read more...
ELIAS MESERETMon, November 2, 2020, 6:19 PM GMT+3