At least 28 civilians are reportedly killed in a drone attack in Finote Selam town in West Gojjam zone, in the Amhara regional state. Twenty others (also civilians) are wounded of which ten are said to be serious. The attack happened on Sunday.
The drone attack happened as residents of Finote Selam were discussing the security situation in their town following an intense battle between Ethiopian Defense Force and Fano in Bure.
Ethiopian Media Service said that some sources put the number of casualties from the drone attack to over 70.
The Ethiopian Defense Force did not enter Finote Selam after the drone attack. The attack has further angered residents and are reportedly resorting to supporting the Fano forces – a militia group from the region.
The drone attack came a day after Ethiopian Defense Force members suffered a serious loss in the Bure area where there was intense fighting. Two tanks were destroyed in the battle near Bure – according to Anchor Media.
Reports from local sources indicate Ethiopian Defense Force used helicopters to build up troops in Bure as roads in many parts of the region are closed and fano forces ambushing government troops.
Four members of the same family were killed in their own house when Ethiopian government forces shelled the city with artillery from Wondy plateau off Bure town.
A person who identified himself as a family member spoke to Ethiopian Media Service on the phone and confirmed that his family members were killed including his mother. Atrocities by government forces are fueling more anger in the region.
State media and government communications affairs ministry has framed Fano forces as “hoodlums and hooligans” when the group has popular support in the region and beyond.
Government authorities did not remark on the drone attack. State media outlets did not cover the story at this writing.
EMS said it reached out to Defense Force spokesperson, Colonel Getenet Adane, to get remarks but the phone was unanswered.
The Fano group is clearly politically motivated and there have been no reports of bank robbery in the region since the Fano officially launched military resistance to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government, unlike the case in the Oromo region of Ethiopia where hundreds of branches of commercial banks of Ethiopia were robbed.
Last week, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government imposed a state of emergency in the Amhara region after internet connections were shut for weeks.
The number of civilian casualties has been spiraling as the federal government intensifies its military campaign with the hope of disarming Fano forces which does not seem to be happening.
Ethiopian Parliament meeting to Approve ruling party’s State of Emergency
The Ethiopian Parliament is meeting on Monday to approve the state of emergency measure which is already in effect.
Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) this week released a statement with recommendations in implementing the state of emergency to avoid human rights abuses.
Daniel Bekele, Commissioner of EHRC, advises the parliament to assess the state of emergency measures. In a Twitter message on Saturday, he said “As Ethiopia Parliament convenes on Monday, it should assess the necessity, legality & proportionality of emergency powers as well as its scope of applications…”
Hundreds of civilians have reportedly been killed in the Amhara region of Ethiopia since the declaration of a state of emergency last week.
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