As many as 12 members of the same family perished in Wollega Massacre this week by a radical militant group that the Ethiopian government calls Shane. Radical Oromo armed groups are seen in a video footage going house to house to during the massacre
The death toll from the Saturday massacre of ethnic Amhara civilians in Gimbi, Wollega, in West Ethiopia is well over 300.
The Guardian reported, on Monday, about new witness testimony which suggested that the number of deaths from the attack is as many as 320.
The victims are mostly children and women, according to reports from Ethiopia that are citing eyewitnesses who managed to escape the attack.
The massacre that seems to have been orchestrated in a way to target an entire community in Tole locality of Gimbi has hit some families harder. Some have lost multiple family members in the attack.
There have been recurring massacres in Wollega region of Ethiopia targeting ethnic Amhara since Abiy Ahmed became prime minister of Ethiopia following the resignation of Hailemariam Desalegn in March 2018.
Thousands of ethnic Amhara civilians have been killed in the Wollega region of Ethiopia.
The number of deaths from the Saturday attack could rise as there are reported life-threatening wounds.
Other Ethiopian sources report a much higher number of casualties from the horrific attack by the militant wing of the Oromo Liberation Front. The Ethiopian government calls the armed group Shane but the armed group rejects the designation and calls itself “Oromo Liberation Army”
Genocide Prevention In Ethiopia, a social media page, said the casualties from the village attack are over 900.
It said “We are getting extremely disturbing reports indicating that the casualties of this ethnic-based attack against ethnic Amharas in Wollega has grown to over 900!This is a developing situation, again over 70K Amharas are stranded! ”
In unverified video footage (watch below) purportedly showing the village that was attacked by radical Oromo armed groups, the attackers are seen going house to house as they please.
Graphic images of dead bodies from the massacre have been circulating on social media too in the past few days.
Those who survived the attack said they were attacked only because of their ethnic Amhara identity.
Some authorities that are working with Abiy Ahmed’s government have started raising their voices against the attack on innocent civilians and calling for an investigation into the massacre.
Seleshi Bekele, former Minister for Water, Energy and Irrigation who is currently serving as Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the U.S. said, in a Twitter message, “It is sad to learn many innocent people are targeted and killed in West Ethiopia. Killing poor people including women and children is heinous crime and intolerable. This should be investigated and perpetrators be made accountable”
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed himself, who usually avoids sharing messages about the recurring massacre of ethnic Amhara in Wollega, remarked about the latest incident this time around.
He said “Attacks on innocent civilians and destruction of their livelihoods by illegal and irregular forces is unacceptable. There is zero tolerance for horrific acts claiming lives recently in both Benishangul and Oromia regions by elements whose main objective is to terrorise communities.”
His government has been widely criticised for failing to provide protection to innocent and unarmed civilians whom the radicalised ethnic Oromo armed groups found as an easy target to push for a political agenda.
His government has lost significant public trust in connection with the security situation in the country, and because of the way he handled the conflict with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
His government has recently made claims that the capacity of law enforcement and the defence forces has reached a point where it can effectively respond to situations that threaten the security of the country – something that is not yet demonstrated.
In his latest social media message, on Monday, Abiy Ahmed said “Restoring peace and security in affected communities remains our key priority.”
In his latest appearance in the parliament, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed spoke with a tone that his government has achieved many positive results, and that “prosperity” is inevitable.
Public outrage and reaction from opposition parties
Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice Party (EZEMA) on Monday said the government is responsible for the lives of innocent civilians that are being massacred in different parts of Ethiopia.
EZEMA said that the government should have worked to ensure such massacres do not happen.
Similarly, the National Movement of Amhara (NaMA) said the government should understand that its number one responsibility is to ensure the safety and security of citizens and that it should discharge its responsibilities.
NaMA went further to demand that collaborators of radical armed groups that are working from within the government structure and armed groups should be brought to justice.
Ethiopians on social media are venting anger on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government’s incapability to provide security for citizens.
A considerable number of voices expressed on social media even tend to Prime Minister Abiy himself as a collaborator in a project of subtle and periodic genocide against ethnic Amhara communities living in the Oromo region of Ethiopia.
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