Ethiopian News sources, including borkena, had been reporting that somewhere between 80 and 100 unarmed civilians were executed by Ethiopian government troops in Merawi on January 29, 2024 shortly after a battle between Fano forces and government soldiers.
A statement from the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO), released on February 6, 2024, confirms that 80 civilians who do not have participation in the conflict were killed.
EHRCO highlighted that the war in the Amhara region of Ethiopia is worsening. Identifying Merawi town in West Gojjam as one of the areas where there has been recurring conflict, it said: “it has received information indicating severe human rights violations during the conflict between government security forces and armed groups on 20/05/2016 E.C. [January 29, 2024].”
Transportation in the town was completely stopped and persons with no participation in the conflict were killed, beaten and intimidated, the statement indicated.
“Due to the conflict in the area [merawi] over 80 people who had no participation in the conflict were killed,” EHRCO said. The source established it by citing eyewitnesses from the town.
Two of the victims were women, borkena earlier in the week reported citing local sources that one of the victims was six months pregnant.
Some were killed during the exchange of fire between Fano forces and government troops. But most of the victims were dragged out from house to house searches in the town, taken to the street, and shot.
Other reports that cite eyewitnesses from Merawi pointed out that the killing in Merawi happened in less than an hour after Fano forces withdrew from the town.
EHRCO said it will further investigate the rights violations when the security situation in the area permits.
The Amhara region of Ethiopia has been restricted to journalists and human rights researchers after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government imposed a six-month-long state of emergency in the region in August 2023. It expired earlier in late January but the Ethiopian Parliament extended it by four months after Abiy Ahmed’s government asked for it.
There have been calls for the government to resort to peaceful negotiation to end the conflict in the region but Abiy Ahmed’s government tends to make laying down arms as a condition for negotiation. On the other side, Fano forces are now demanding an end to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government – which seems unlikely given the alleged tacit support from Western powers to Abiy Ahmed. Abiy Ahmed was recently awarded the FAO award for work in the direction of “food security.”
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