At least one hundred people, mostly from the Amhara ethnic group, have been killed in an attack in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, according to witnesses, who blamed the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) for one of the deadliest attacks in recent memory.
However, two other witnesses claim more than 200 people have died in the incidents. The regional government in Oromia confirmed the attack but did not give details about casualty figures. The central government in Addis Ababa could not be reached for comments.
“I have counted 230 bodies. I am afraid this is the deadliest attack against civilians we have seen in our lifetime,” Abdul-Seid Tahir, a resident of Gimbi county, told The Associated Press news agency after barely escaping the attack on Saturday.
“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,” he added.
Another witness, who is identified only by his first name, Shambel, over fears for his safety, said the local Amhara community is now desperately seeking to be relocated somewhere else “before another round of mass killings happen”. He said ethnic Amhara that settled in the area about 30 years ago in resettlement programmes are now being “killed like chickens”. “My entire family is killed. No one was spared,” witness Abdu Hassen, who lives nearby, told DPA news agency by phone.
“I am hearing some 300 bodies are recovered so far. But collecting the bodies hasn’t started in two villages so it could be much higher.” The attack comes as ethnic strife threatens to break apart Africa’s second-most populous country. Fighting that erupted in 2020 in the northern Tigray region spilled over into the neighbouring regions of Afar and Amhara last year. (Agencies)