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News: US “deeply concerned” over Merawi civilian killings, calls for impartial investigation

US ambassador to Ethiopia Ervin Jose Massinga (Photo: US State Department)

Addis Abeba – The US government said it is “deeply concerned by reports of targeted civilian killings in the town of Merawi town in the North Gojjam zone of the restive Amhara region.

On 29 January 2024, following six hours of intense fighting between the non-state militia, Fano and the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) at least 50 civilian people were allegedly killed by government forces in what residents described as “execution.”

Following the heavy fighting that started shortly after dawn and lasted until midday and evacuation of the militia group from the town, government forces started conducting door-to-door searches, followed by the “executions,” a resident told Addis Standard.

A local rights group, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council and hospital sources from Merawi put the death toll at more than 80, whereas residents fear over 100 civilians may have been killed.

A statement by US ambassador to Ethiopia Ervin Massinga called for “unfettered access by independent human rights monitors as well as an impartial investigation to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.” 

The statement also drew attention to other “numerous disturbing reports” of violations and abuses in Amhara, Oromia, and other parts of the country implicating both “government and non-state actors.” 

“Dialogue not violence is the only way forward,” the ambassador stressed.

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The Merawi killings took place days before the House of Peoples Representatives prolonged the six-month state of emergency initially declared in August 2023, following the escalation of militarized conflict in the region.

No statement was issued both from the federal and regional governments as of yet regarding the incident. AS

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