More than 200 Amharas killed in Ethiopia
The attack was blamed on rebels as ethnic tensions are ongoing in the country.
Witnesses in Ethiopia stated on Sunday that around 200 ethnic Amhara people were murdered in an attack in the country's Oromia region, accusing a rebel group, which denies it.
This is one of the deadliest such attacks in recent times.
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Abdul-Seid Tahir nearly escaped the attack on Saturday and told AP he counted nearly 230 bodies. He cited fears that this may have been "the deadliest attack against civilians we have seen in our lifetime."
“We are burying them in mass graves, and we are still collecting bodies. Federal army units have now arrived, but we fear that the attacks could continue if they leave.”
Another witness, Shambel, who offered only his first name out of concern for his life, claimed the local Amhara population was keen to be transferred "before another round of mass killings happen." He said ethnic Amhara who arrived in the area some 30 years ago as part of resettlement programs were being "killed like chickens."
Both witnesses attributed the assaults to the Oromo Liberation Army. The Oromia regional administration also accused the OLA in a statement, claiming the rebels attacked "after being unable to resist the operations launched by [federal] security forces."
In a message to AP, an OLA spokesperson, Odaa Tarbii, denied the claims stating that “the attack you are referring to was committed by the regime’s military and local militia as they retreated from their camp in Gimbi following our recent offensive."
“They escaped to an area called Tole, where they attacked the local population and destroyed their property as retaliation for their perceived support for the OLA. Our fighters had not even reached that area when the attacks took place.”
Ethiopia is facing extensive ethnic conflicts in numerous regions, the majority of which stem from historical grievances and political difficulties. The Amhara, Ethiopia's second-largest ethnic minority, has been regularly attacked in places such as Oromia.
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The government-appointed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission called on the federal government on Sunday to find a "lasting solution" to the killing of civilians and to safeguard them from such assaults.