By Abdi Biyenssa @ABiyenssa
Addis Abeba – Eight civilians have been killed, 13 injured and 15 went missing following a fresh attack on 16 June, carried out by the irregular Fano militia in the village of Wasti, in Kiremu district of East Wollega zone, in Western Oromia, residents told Addis Standard.
A resident of Kiremu who asked not to be named for safety reasons shared the names of the deceased and those who were injured with Addis Standard, noting that the perpetrators crossed the border from neighboring Amhara region.
Beyene Bekare, Oljira Tolera, Amanu Hirko, Hailu Eticha, Asaye Beyene, Tolera Hirpha, Tamasgu Yaya and Bikila Bakalu are those who were killed during the attack, the resident said adding that their age ranges between 20 and 58.
Addis Standard spoke to two other local residents who said the militia men took away a total of more than 3,000 cattle from the farmers in villages of Wasti, Jirma Dongoro and Ajana in the Kiremu district.
“They carried out the attack at dawn while many people were sleeping,” one of the two residents who is from Jirma Dongoro said.
Jiregna Hirpha, Kiremu district communication officer corroborating the residents account told Addis Standard that the militants have opened permanent military bases and are operating in four of the ten villages of the district namely Bagil, Caffee Gudina, Haro and Marga Jireenya.
“They [the militants] killed civilians, destroyed government and private properties on 16 June. They launched attacks in ten villages on identified Oromo natives. What this group is doing is similar to what is happening in the Horro Guduru zone,” the communication officer said.
“Since July 2020, the group has been carrying out organized attacks and committing crimes and looting properties. They are only getting stronger and the intensity of their attacks are increasing,” Jiregna added.
The militants are armed with heavy weapons such as Brens and Dshk, and are very organized according to the communication officer, who also added that “they used to receive military training in the Amhara region but now opened military bases in East Wollega, Oromia region and are receiving trainings here”.
He noted that the government has deployed security forces to the area to take action on the militants.
Kiremu District Communication Office said in a statement posted on Facebook on 16 June, that the militants whom it referred to as “Amhara extremist group” are working to change the demography of the area by displacing Oromo farmers and settling Amhara natives on their lands.
The statement further accused the group of intending to weaken the government and dismantle the Oromia region, calling on the local people to stand beside the government to avert the threat.
On 07 June, armed militants described as members of the irregular Fano militia killed at least five people, injured dozens in Amuru district of Horo Guduru Wollega zone of the Oromia regional states, Addis Standard reported.
Residents accused the militants of destroying properties, looting and burning houses with the aim to evict farmers from their farmlands. AS