By Abdi Biyenssa @ABiyenssa
Addis Abeba – Armed militants described as members of the irregular Fano militia killed at least five people, injured dozens in a new attack in Amuru district of Horo Guduru Wollega zone of the Oromia regional states, residents told Addis Standard.
According to a resident of Agamsa town in Amuru district who asked for his name to be concealed for safety reasons, the attack on Wednesday, 07 June destroyed properties, and houses were burned and looted in the town and the surrounding rural villages.
The victims of the attack were civilian farmers, and many are fleeing the area as a result of the attack, the resident said, adding that the attackers may have wanted to evict the farmers from their farmlands.
He noted that similar attacks had displaced hundreds of farmers from the area last year. The militants traveled from Haro town in neighboring Kiremu district of East Wollega zone where they are stationed according to him. Haro is 50 kilometers away from Amuru.
Giving further insight into the attack, another resident of Agamsa town who also spoke to Addis Standard on conditions of anonymity for safety reasons said “farmers like Gudina Guracho, Sori Jukar and Takle Fufa, both with their wives were killed in the attack”. Sori and Takle were both from Makanno village, in Amuru district, he added.
More than ten civilians injured during the attack have been taken to a local hospital for treatment according to the resident.
In neighboring Kiremu district of East Wollega zone, where according to the residents, Fano militias are stationed, there are ongoing attacks, and the militants are setting ablaze farmers houses in villages like Chafe Sorma, Boqa, Mayaa Jinina, Qoqophe, Qore and Daraba.
Many residents of the area were forced to leave their homes, as a result of the attacks, and are sheltered in the churches etc, multiple residents told Addis Standard. The residents urged the regional government to protect the farmers from the continued attack.
In February, Addis Standard reported that people who were internally displaced following deadly attacks in Kiremu and Gida Ayana districts of East Wollega zone in November last year and have since been living in IDP shelters in the small Gida town were hesitant to return home citing lingering insecurity despite officials urging them otherwise.
The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said earlier this month that the humanitarian situation in East and West Wollega zones of the Oromia regional state has shown to worsen in the last few months due to continued insecurity from conflict since 2020, and about 859,000 displaced people are in need of protection and other multi-sectoral support.
The renewed attacks in Western Oromia by the Fano militant group comes amidst ongoing crackdown by regional and federal security forces against armed insurgency in the Amhara region.
The federal government’s intelligence and security joint task force said in a statement on 03 June, that approximately 200 militants of an insurgent group led by Eskindir Nega have been killed following an operation in a local monastery in Debre Elias Woreda of the East Gojjam zone in Amhara region.
Some reports indicate that the renewed attacks in Western Oromia are carried out by armed militants fleeing the ongoing crackdown in the Amhara region, but Addis Standard hasn’t been able to independently corroborate these claims.
Attempts to get comments from local officials both in Amuru and Kiremu districts were unsuccessful. AS