The incident is said to have ethnic character between Oromo and Sidama ethnic groups. Ethiopian Authorities declined to remark about it
Renewed clashes along what is described as a “border” between Oromia and Sidama region reportedly left at least 12 people dead. As many as 28 people are said to be wounded in the attack.
According to the report from VOA Amharic, the incident happened about a week ago near the Chiri locality. It happened in the West Arsi zone of Oromia and the adjacent ethnic Sidama areas.
Health center sources where victims got emergency service said 11 victims were referred to hospitals in Hawassa city. The victims have signs of bullet shots.
Fesseha Inushe, who identified himself to the news source as a resident of Chiri, said two of the victims are his cousins. Their names are Burka Butaro and Samuel Buratro.
Perpetrators of the attack are said to be “unidentified gunmen.” However, the unsuspecting circumstances under which the killing happened seem to indicate that the killing was a coordinated one.
In fact, another resident who spoke to VOA Amharic, on condition of anonymity due to security concerns, indicated that it was a planned one.
People were called for a “meeting” in the area and the killing happened while it was underway. The number of victims could be higher as there
Based on the VOA Amharic report, the attack is based on ethnic identity. And the clash between the two ethnic groups (Oromia and Sidama) has something to do with ownership of land in the areas along their ethnic boundaries.
Two are said to be killed from Oromia’s side – apparently in response to the killing at the “meeting” place.
The contested ethnic land area has been, reportedly, administered by two chairpersons from the two communities.
A VOA Amharic reporter said the repeated attempt to reach out to government authorities to get their remarks about the incident was not a success – apparently, authorities opted for avoiding to avoid talking about it.
The Hawassa Branch of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission is said to have information about the incident. It has said, according to the source, that it will release a report from its investigation.
Clash between Oromia and Sidama ethnic groups happened last year too. In April 2022, at least five people were reportedly killed due to tribal conflicts between the two groups.
There were hopes that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government would reform the constitution in a way to do away with claims of ethnic land which has caused unending violence in different parts of the country.
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