At least 80 civilians were reportedly massacred in Merawi, a town about 35 kilometers from Bahir Dar City, the seat of the regional government on Monday this week soon after Fano Forces completed operations targeting the military training facility in the locality of Chinatown in the outskirts of the town. Multiple local credible sources are reporting the death toll could be much higher.
Fano Forces reportedly entered the town for operation around 3 a.m. and withdrew from it before 1 p.m.
On Tuesday, Ethiopian Media Service reported that the government troops were in town when the Fano Forces entered Merawi town for a military operation. Fano Getaneh Guade, spokesperson for Colonel Tadesse Muluneh Brigade of Fano, told EMS “The reason Fano decided to undertake its operation during nighttime was to avoid civilian casualties as most people would be at home.” He added that government soldiers entered the city around 2 p.m. and that he had information that they searched house to house, dragged youths from their homes, and executed them.
Getaneh also said they fought anti-riot police and militia recruited and trained in the city.
Students, women, elders, and hotel guests are among those massacred by Ethiopian government forces. He is alleging that all the victims are unarmed civilians.
A resident of Merawi who spoke to EMS on condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday, that he saw about “48 bodies in the streets of the city. ” However, he indicated that there were killings in the neighborhoods and the number could be much higher. Another resident of the town said that there was an observance of Asterio Mariam in the nearby church and 21 bodies were counted from the casualties. However, sources from the town have confirmed that there were muslims who were killed during the massacre and three of them have already been laid to rest.
At this writing, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and Ethiopian Human Rights Council did not state the incident as of now.
Pro-government cadres on social media were rather writing celebratory messages making it appear that the “Defense Force achieved victory over Fano forces,” in Merawi.
Ethiopian government forces have a track record – and this is something witnessed by reputable human rights organizations in the country and abroad – of extrajudicial killings in the Amhara region since the conflict started in the region over seven months ago.
Some relate it to the government forces’ frustration over the loss of a large number of forces since the operation started in the region.
In February of last year, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addressed his ministers and party officials during a meeting convened to discuss issues within the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. He stated that while people are familiar with the concept of the Red Terror, his government’s response would surpass it by a significant margin.
The Federal government did not remark on the latest incident. The state of emergency is expected to end in a week. Abiy Ahmed’s military campaign in the region has caused a dire humanitarian situation in addition to prevalent rights abuse.
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