Law & JusticeNewsOromia Regional State

News: Armed men assault on civilians in Western Oromia leaves several dead, injured

Gidda Ayana Hospital, where injured victims are being treated

Addis Abeba – A devastating assault targeting unarmed civilians by assailants identified by local official residents and an official as members of Fano militia left many dead and injured.

The attack took place on 15 September in the village of Dincho, in Gidda Ayana district in the East Wollega Zone in Western Oromia and has resulted in several fatalities including three members of one family, while the survivors sustained sever injuries.

A medical professional at the Gida Ayana hospital who spoke to Addis Standard on conditions of anonymity, said eleven people were admitted to the hospital, and five of them died as the result of their injuries. The victims are identified as Bilashitti Jiboo, Babu Haji, and brothers Amin Nuru, Taji Nuru, and Tola Nuru. Six survivors are currently receiving medical treatment at Gidda Ayana Hospital.

Speaking to Addis Standard about the assault, Wakgari Gudaya, head of the communication office of Gidda Ayana district, accused the Fano militia of what he described as “acts of terrorism, including beatings, looting and property damage.”He also said that the local police and the army are pursuing the perpetrators to ensure justice.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a teacher at Gidda Ayana Secondary School provided a harrowing account of the events leading up to the assault. According to the teacher, on 14 September near the hospital in Gidda Ayana town, government forces approached an Isuzu driver named Mohammedo Mohammed, demanding his services.

However, Mohammed explained that he had prior commitments and was unable to comply. Despite his refusal, the troops forcefully compelled him to drive the vehicle. But they shot and killed him in Qore village, approximately four kilometers from Gidda Ayana Town. A teacher, Abara Abdissa and farmer Imiru Tolera were wounded in the same attack, according to the informant.

The armed assault by the Fano militia on 15 September which led to the killing of five and injury of six took place on civilian mourners traveling from Nekemte to Gidda Ayana to attend for driver Mohammed’s funeral. The attack took place in the Andode Dincho area between 8 and 10pm local on Friday.

A resident of Gidda Ayana, who also preferred to remain anonymous for fear of safety, shared his account with Addis Standard. “At that time, the group wearing masks instructed everyone in the vehicle to disembark the vehicle, but they specifically targeted men, including young men and adults, to join the march. Then they started shooting,” the eye witness said.

They further highlighted that even though the vehicle could accommodate up to 24 people, there were many mourners packed in the vehicle, as a result the number of casualties is above 30. Many more who survived the attack are missing.

The resident also provided a separate account of killing by the Fano militia in which a husband and wife killed at Eder Dirree village, as well as five other people, including a pregnant woman, were killed the town of Qarsa on Thursday last week . Both locations are in the environs of the town of Gidda Ayana.

It is recalled that similar attacks by the Fano militia in Kiremu district, East Wollega zone of Oromia region, killed dozens of people, including Damtew Kefyalew Gemeda, Kiremu District Court judge. The attacks took place on 25 and 29 of November, 2022. AS

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