News: Residents gripped by fear after 15 killed following heavy fighting between gov’t forces, OLA in Hidhabu Abote, Oromia region

Ejere town, Hidhabu Abote district of the North Shoa zone, Oromia region (Photo: Social Media)

Addis Abeba – Following three days of intense gun battles between the Ethiopian government forces and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) in Hidhabu Abote district of the North Shoa zone, Oromia region, residents reported that 15 civilians were killed and over ten others were injured.

An anonymous resident and educator from Ejere town in the district informed Addis Standard that seven civilians lost their lives and many others were injured during the clashes in Ejere town from early morning until 7 pm on Sunday, 18 February 2024.

According to the resident, Hora Tufaa (70 years old), Dhekeba Redo (25 years old), and Tamiru Bayana (23 years old) were among the civilians killed during the fighting. Other casualties included Teferi Asefa Gari, a father of five, Teferi Teshome Werke, a 12th-grade student, and Araga Teshome, another father of five.

“Residents were refrained from going outside. We have only seen their bodies after the clashes ceased,” he said, suggesting that they may have been caught in the crossfires during the fighting. 

Another local resident who also wished to remain anonymous told Addis Standard, that eight other people were killed during the fighting in an adjacent village called Lalu. He added that the sound of heavy weapons were heard during the fighting.

He further stated that the fighting in the Hidhabu Abote district, which mainly affected the villages of Kobe Gode and Lalu, began on Thursday last week and continued through Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

He added that the wounded have been receiving treatment at the hospital in Fiche, a major town in the North Shoa zone. Furthermore, he said that although conflicts have occurred in the area before, the scale of casualties this time around is unprecedented.

The residents highlighted the continued disruption of essential services such as healthcare facilities, schools, transportation, and markets in the district, and expressed concern about the ongoing security situation, highlighting reports of violence occurring in rural areas within the district.

Two rounds of attempts to peacefully resolve the militarized conflict that is ongoing for more than five years in the Oromia region have been unsuccessful. AS

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