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News: Drone strike in Oromia’s Kombolcha district results in eight deaths, three injuries

An aerial drone strike on the Full Gospel Church situated in the Kombolcha district within the Oromia region has resulted in eight casualties and inflicted injuries on three individuals (Photo: Google Map)

Addis Abeba – An aerial drone assault on Full Gospel Church located in Baro village of Kombolcha district claimed eight lives and left three injured.

A minister and church official, who wished to remain unnamed, disclosed to the Addis Standard that the members of the Full Gospel Church, situated in the Horo Guduru Wollega zone of the Oromia region, were participating in a planned activity gathering scattered corn on the church grounds on Monday morning, 25 December, 2023, when a drone strike was carried out.

The three individuals who sustained severe injuries are currently receiving medical treatment at Kombolcha City Hospital. “Nevertheless, the outlook for their survival seems exceptionally grim,” the church official added.

The church leader also reported that the deceased included the young artists Damena Lika, aged 22, and Dugasa Wakene, aged 21. He confirmed in the interview with Addis Standard, “The casualties comprised both civilians and church ministers.”

An additional testimony from a resident of Baro village confirmed the drone attack on the Full Gospel Church, resulting in the deaths of several worshippers. The informant described the situation in the district as being characterized by “intense hostilities” between OLA combatants and government troops, which have been ongoing since Tuesday morning.

This morning, a pervasive stillness dominates, with both vehicular and pedestrian movements halted due to the severe clashes between the OLA and the federal government forces, according to the resident.

The informant also reported that the inhabitants of Baro village, encompassing the members of the church congregation, were precluded from participating in the funeral services for the eight individuals impacted by the lamentable event.

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Such clashes between federal forces and the OLA is not new phenomenon. The frequency of drone strikes in the Oromia region has increased, particularly following the cessation of negotiations between the federal government and the OLA, which concluded two month ago without yielding any positive outcomes.

In early October 2023, the Addis Standard reported that over of 12 individuals lost their lives in two separate drone strikes attributed to government forces within the Kombolcha district of the Oromia region.

The strikes took place on 07 and 08 October, 2023, during the time of the annual Irreechaa festivities. Local inhabitants have reported that the alleged drone attacks occurred within the districts of Hababo Guduru and Kombolcha.

The intensifying conflict between federal forces and OLA insurgents has raised alarm among the populace due to the substantial number of civilian casualties and the forced displacement of residents from their villages, notably in the districts of Kombolcha and Hababo Guduru. AS

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