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News: EHRC report exposes tragedy, turmoil in Southern Ethiopia’s Kola Shara kebele near Arba Minch

As per the EHRC, enduring administrative conflicts, persisting over the past six months, have arisen between the residents of Kola Shara Kebele and officials representing the neighboring Arba Minch city administration (Photo: Addis Standard)

Addis Abeba – The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has unveiled the results of its inquiry into a fatal altercation that transpired in August 2023 in Kola Shara kebele, situated in the Gamo zone within the recently established region of Southern Ethiopia.

According to the EHRC report, numerous civilians lost their lives and property sustained damage during the aforementioned incident.

As outlined in the report, persistent administrative disputes spanning the preceding six months emerged between the residents of Kola Shara Kebele and officials representing the adjacent Arba Minch city administration.

The report denotes that inhabitants of Kola Shara Kebele established a local militia and enlisted both youth and elders to uphold tranquility and manage administrative responsibilities within the kebele.

Simultaneously, leaders in administrative and security roles within the region conveyed to the commission that these informal local groups obstructed officials appointed by the Arba Minch city administration from accessing Kola Shara Kebele. Consequently, the kebele operated beyond the purview and supervision of the local government, as articulated by the leaders.

The leaders further expounded that this restricted access resulted in the hampering of normal operations for various departments, including security, health, education, agriculture, and other essential services within the kebele.

On 24 August, 2023, law enforcement and security personnel from the region entered Kola Shara Kebele during heightened tensions associated with administrative matters. The EHRC investigation ascertained that during these incidents, three unarmed civilians succumbed to actions inconsistent with the appropriate application of force guidelines.

Furthermore, additional injuries and property damage were duly documented.

As an integral component of its investigation, the commission conducted interviews with victims, eyewitnesses, local leaders, and security officials directly implicated in the incident.

Additionally, medical records detailing injuries and documentation of property losses underwent a comprehensive review. Representatives from the commission physically visited the locations where pertinent events transpired.

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In its conclusive findings, the EHRC urges authorities to undertake a meticulous examination to ascertain whether any unlawful acts were perpetrated and to guarantee appropriate accountability.

Furthermore, it advocates for the provision of compensation to the families of deceased civilians and individuals who suffered injuries or losses.

EHRC Chief Commissioner Daniel Bekele stated that resolving the underlying administrative disputes through an open dialogue process involving local community stakeholders could help prevent future tensions and ensure peaceful coexistence. Addressing longstanding issues is key to avoiding additional incidents, according to the report.

In August 2023, Addis Standard published news indicating that a minimum of 17 individuals had lost their lives and numerous others sustained injuries during confrontations between government security forces and local residents in the Kola Shara kebele of the Gamo zone, proximate to Arba Minch city. AS

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