By Addis Standard Staff
Addis Abeba, October 19, 2021- The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) issued a statement cautioning that the repeated attacks on civilians in different woredas of East wollega and Horogudru zones might lead to communal violence if the government doesn’t deploy security forces ‘immediately’ and ‘permanently’.
The commission recalled its recent statement on September 24, 2021 where it urged the regional and federal security forces to collaborate in reopening closed roads and ensuring the safety of citizens. According to the statement, security heads of the Oromia region told the commission that OLF/Shane (a term used by the government to refer to Oromo Liberation Army) killed civilians in Haro town following the withdrawal of Oromia Special Forces.
“Following the killing of civilians by OLF/Shane (a term used by the government to refer to Oromo Liberation Army) in Haro town, an informally organized armed group from the area and neighboring regions launched an attack killing many civilians,” the statement read.
These attacks alternated between both the Oromo and the Amhara communities as tensions and fears of communal violence is mounting between the two communities.
Moreover, the statement noted that on August 18, 2021, civilians in Umuru woreda in Horogudru zone were killed by residents of the woreda who were said to be allowed to be armed in order to defend themselves. Emphasizing that the attacks are ethnically targeted, the commission said, “These attacks alternated between both the Oromo and the Amhara communities as tensions and fears of communal violence is mounting between the two communities.”
Citing the local administration, the commission said that a total of 43,139 internally displaced people who fled from Gudaya Bila, Limu, Kiramu, Leqa dualcha, Diga woredas in East wollega zone, and Umuru woerda in Horogudru zone. “The roads leading to these areas are closed preventing the transportation of basic needs to the IDPs.”
The commissioner of the EHRC, Daniel Bekele (PhD) emphasized that the attacks occur after the withdrawal of security forces from the area and said, “Security forces must be permanently deployed to the areas until the safety of civilians is ensured and before the conflict changes into a communal violence.” Daniel also called for immediate humanitarian assistance to those displaced by the conflict.
Last week, a report by Addis Standard, later corroborated by the Oromia region communication bureau confirmed that OLF/Shane and Amhara militias operating in the area’ launched attacks on civilians in Kiramu woreda of the East wollega zone. The residents of Kirmau woreda, members of both communities and a community leader said that communal violence broke out on October 10, 2021, claiming the lives of many and forcing people to flee their homes. AS