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Ethiopia: At Least 260 Killed in Armed Attack

Mon 20 Jun 2022 | 07:54 PM
Israa Farhan

An attack by armed men in Ethiopia's western Oromia region has killed at least 260 civilians, according to two residents who gave detailed accounts of their participation in burying bodies in mass graves.

Both residents, who refused to say their names out of fear for their safety, told Reuters that the victims of Saturday's attack were from the Amharas, a minority in the area.

There is no indication that the attack is directly linked to the conflict in the northern Tigray region that began in November 2020 and has killed thousands and displaced millions.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had earlier condemned what he described as "horrific acts" in Oromia, without giving details.

"Attacks on innocent civilians and destruction of livelihoods by illegal and irregular forces is unacceptable," he said on Twitter.

One of the residents said the number of the killed is 260 and another said 320, making the attack one of the deadliest on civilians in Ethiopia in years.

Another resident explained that the attackers belonged to an ethnic Oromo group called the Oromo Liberation Army.

"It was a massacre of the Amhara," he said, noting that he survived when he hid in a forest and heard the attackers speak the Oromo language.

The head of Ethiopia's government-appointed Human Rights Commission said on Sunday that a group called the

Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) was responsible for a "bloody attack and sabotage act" in Oromia, without details.

The OLA denied being involved in the attack.

The OLA is a banned splinter group from the Oromo Liberation Front, a former banned opposition group that returned from exile after Abiy took power in 2018.