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News: Several civilians killed in series of attacks in Oromo special zone, Amhara region

Several images of victims of the attacks have been shared on social media by families and friends.

Addis Abeba – Several people have been killed, many others injured in the Oromo special zone of the Amhara region in what local residents described as a series of “coordinated attacks” perpetuated by the Fano militia and uniformed regional police forces.

A total of 27 people were killed, and more than 40 others have been injured in the attacks since 09 March in the Jille Dhumuga district of the zone, according to locals.

A resident of the district’s Kolashi village, who requested anonymity, told Addis Standard that the first attack in the village on 09 March 2024 left one person dead, and two others injured. 

The attacks have since spread to several villages in the district resulting in more casualties, burning of homes and destruction and looting of properties, the resident added. 

According to the resident, 27 people have been killed over a span of 10 days since 09 March across multiple villages, while 40 others survived injuries. Women, children, and elderly people are reported to be among the victims.

Some 20 individuals out of those injured in the attacks are currently receiving treatments in Adama, the resident said, adding that due to closed roads between Addis Abeba and Dessie, they had to travel via Afar region, incurring significant additional costs. Those who couldn’t take the journey are undergoing treatments in Sambate and Bate towns, the resident added.

Footage of burning villages as well as that of injured men lying on stretchers in Adama hospital have been shared on Facebook. Addis Standard could not independently verify the footage. Online fundraising campaigns to support the victims have also been launched.

A villager from Karra Abba Karcho, one of the villages affected by the attacks, told Addis Standard that several people including members of the same family have been killed in villages such as Kolashi, Nanoftu, Wesen Kurkur and Balchi. 

The villager alleged that the attacks are aimed at displacing ethnic Oromo residents. “They threaten us to leave saying that the land belongs to the Amhara and it shouldn’t be called the Oromo special zone,” he said.

Attempts by Addis Standard to get comments about the ongoing attacks from local officials haven’t been successful. 

The Oromo Special Zone and the neighboring North Shoa zone of the Amhara region have been a site of violent clashes over the past years involving the Fano militia, government security forces and local armed residents. 

In November last year, more than 18 people were killed, and over 30 others were wounded in a day-long fighting between the Fano militia from the North Shewa zone and armed residents of Artuma Fursi district of the neighboring Oromo Special Zone of the Amhara region.

In January 2023, dozens of civilians were killed Jille Dhummuga district of the Oromo Special Zone, in clashes involving local armed forces and local civilians. In July 2022, 17 civilians, by local authorities’ count, were killed, many were also injured and several dozens were displaced along with severe property damages, including burning of residential quarters.

Two months earlier, in April of same year, Addis Standard reported about a gruesome violence in which dozens of civilians were executed by members of Fano and many more displaced in an area called Kolash which is a border area between Shewa Robit (North Shewa zone) and Wasen Kurkur (Oromo Special zone).

Amhara region is currently under a federally declared state of emergency first imposed in August last year, and extended by four months earlier this month. AS

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