In the latest string of full-fledged military attacks on civilians, the Oromo Liberation Front – Shane gunmen reportedly killed an unspecified number of civilians in Dera district of Shoa.
The attack mostly happened in Gundo Meskel on Sunday morning. Authorities from the area told EMS services that government forces arrived in the town in the afternoon and had intense fighting with OLF-Shane forces.
Apart from the killings of civilians, the group kidnapped many civilians.
Michael Teshome, Dera District deputy head, has confirmed that the attack has happened. He also confirmed that civilians have been killed but the number of casualties is unspecified.
He also claimed that government forces inflicted “heavy casualties” on the rebel forces.
Gundomeskel is located about 232 kilometers northwest of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
It is said that the OLF Shane rebel groups have been infiltrating several localities in the district for more than a year now.
Before the attack in Gundo Meskel, the group attempted to take control of Nekemte, in Wollega, but it did not last long.
A little earlier, the group entered Garba Guracha town where it killed a deacon while on overnight church service and kidnapped eleven others who were serving at the church. The whereabouts of the kidnaped are still unknown.
The OLF -Shane is the military wing of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) – a radical ethnic Oromo nationalist organization. However, OLF denies that it is linked to the group.
A few months ago, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a rebel group in the north that is said to have signed a peace agreement with the Ethiopian government this month, announced that it had formed a military alliance with OLF-Shane.
The group has killed thousands of civilians over the past four years – mostly targeting ethnic Amharas.
In a related development, a group that calls itself kimant fighters has reportedly kidnapped 15 passengers in the Metema area. Ethiopian Media Service (EMS) cited the residents from the area that the passenger’s bus was traveling between Metama to Gendewuha this past weekend.
The TPLF is known to have links with this group too. According to the Ethiopian government, the TPLF even trained and armed kimant rebels in Gondar.
Meanwhile, the TPLF is now denying that it has armed combatants. It made claims that the agreement reached in Pretoria, South Africa, needs to be corrected to reflect that.
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