Africa

Oromo Liberation Army held responsible for Western Ethopia attacks

By | Rachel Brooks

November 3, 2020

Above, an aerial view of Chato Forest, in the Wollega zone. “File:Chato Forest.jpg” by Taditti is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Dozens were killed in western Ethiopia on November 2. The attack occurred in the Gawa Qanqa village of the Guliso District within the West Wollega Zone. International NGOs such as Amnesty International cited survivors of the attack and placed the death toll at least 54 members of the Amharic ethnic group on Monday. As of Monday, the exact death toll was not known. The Metro UK reported that the killings took place in a schoolyard in the region. The extremist group rounded up the elderly, women, and children up for one mass execution-style killing. International outlets state the Oromo Liberation Army was to blame as the region of the killing was Western Oromia. 

The Horn of Africa director for Human Rights Watch, Laetitia Bader, has stated that research indicates daily ethnic targeted killings in the Horn of Africa against Amharic. 

“There are now daily reports of killings all across #Ethiopia either against Amharas & other minority groups by civilians or unknown armed actors or by security forces during abusive ops against Oromos & other communities,” stated Bader. 

“This signals a deeper failure in the government’s duty to protect and ensure the basic rights of its citizens, including one of the most essential rights, that to life.”

Bader also laid out the evidence that Human Rights Watch was able to unearth regarding the attacks in West Wollega. 

“Chilling reports today that scores of reportedly Amhara victims were killed in West Wollega after forces left the area. Survivors told media & rights orgs they were called to a meeting at a school & later shot by armed attackers claiming to be OLA,” said Bader, citing the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission as her source. 

“The details of what happened are still emerging but PM Abiy issued a statement expressing his condolences to the victims and Oromia regional gov’t was quick to issue a statement blaming the armed OLF/Shene group and TPLF.” 

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission issued a statement to condemn attacks against Amharic in the Wollega Zones’ Gawa-Kanka, Gilla-Gogola, and Seka-Jerbi kebeles. The statement highlights the profound escalation of attacks against ethnic minorities in the region and notes that the events of November 2 are not an isolated incident. 

The Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed Ali likewise reiterated this when he shared his condolences with the Wollega district via his Twitter in a statement that was originally published in Amharic script. 

“I am deeply saddened by the ongoing identity-based attacks on Ethiopians. Ethiopia’s enemies: “Either we rule, or there is no country,” he said. They are using every means at their disposal,” read the official press statement quoting Ali.