News: Clashes between militiamen and armed residents left at least 18 killed in Oromo special zone, Amhara region

The office of Artuma Fursi district administration (Photo: Social Media)

By Natnael Fite @NatieFit

Addis Abeba – More than 18 people were killed during recent clashes between the Fano militia and armed residents of Artuma Fursi district in the Oromo Special Zone of the Amhara region, residents told Addis Standard.

More than 30 others were wounded in the day-long fighting on Sunday, 05 November 2023, a resident said, adding that ten of them with serious injuries were sent to Desse referral hospital. The resident, who asked not to be named, said the militiamen came from Majate town in Efrata and Gidim district of the neighboring North Shoa zone in the region.

“There was heavy fighting in three villages of the district [Artuma Fursi] on Sunday since the morning. Three days earlier [on 02 November] they [the Fano militiamen] came and killed our man. On Sunday, they attacked again and the people started to fight back. More than 18 people were killed,” the resident conveyed.

Unarmed residents including an elderly man were among the dead, the resident claims. Government security forces including federal police and the National Defense Forces intervened, but they were only able to calm the situation in the evening, according to the resident.

Another resident from Chokorso village in the district, who also requested not to be named, corroborated to Addis Standard the accounts of the first resident, confirming the death of more than 18 people during the Sunday attack. Unknown number of the militiamen who crossed over from Majate were also killed, the informant said.

“They [the Fano] want revenge on our people, although their fight is with the government. They claim an Oromo government is fighting them, and they resent us [the Oromos] for that,” the resident noted, asserting that such attacks have been perpetrated more than ten times in the past. 

Both residents expressed concern that, even though the situation seems to have calmed, clashes may eventually resurface. Majate town and the surrounding areas in Efrata and Gidim district, which shares a border with the Artuma Fursi district of the Oromo special zone, has been a scene of fierce fighting between the Fano militia and government forces in the past.

In September, following two weeks of heavy fighting, more than 70 civilians were reported to have been killed by government forces in Majate. Earlier in May, more than 34 people were killed and 35 others were injured at the same place after a fighting between the armed group  and government forces, local media reported.

Despite the government’s recent claim that the conflict in the Amhara region had been contained, heavy fighting is reported to be continuing in many parts of the Amhara region, with residents reporting the use of heavy weaponry.

Addis Standard’s attempts to get comments from local authorities about the recent clashes in the Oromo special zone were unsuccessful. AS

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