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HomeEthiopian NewsEthiopia, Merawi: Extra-judicial killings by gov't forces continue unabated (EHRC) 

Ethiopia, Merawi: Extra-judicial killings by gov’t forces continue unabated (EHRC) 

Merawi _ Ethiopian news _ EHRC

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Toronto – The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on Tuesday released a statement on continued rights abuse in the Amara region of Ethiopia. 

It said that it has been following up on the negative impacts of the conflict on human rights and social activities in the region from eyewitnesses, victims, victims’ families, and government bodies. 

Recalling its recommendations for actions to end extensive rights abuse in the Amhara region, the commission said extrajudicial killings by government forces are still very concerning as they continue unabated.  

It referred to the incident in Merawi town where the government forces killed hundreds of civilians – an incident that borkena covered extensively (check it here). 

What the commission said about Merawi is that it is investigating the attack on civilians following a fight between Fano force and government soldiers on January 29 starting at 6 a.m. local time.  It highlighted that responses from all relevant bodies are not yet ready and the security situation and related factors made the task of gathering information difficult. The result is that the investigation work is not fully completed. 

However, EHRC confirmed that government forces have killed at least 45 civilians in Merawi in extrajudicial killings on alleged grounds that they support Fano  Forces ( it is not even the case that they are members of the Fano movement).  The commission has indicated that the damage could be higher. Local news sources in Ethiopia have now confirmed that the number of civilian deaths in Merawi is now 158. A candlelight vigil graphic commemorating the Merawi massacre is now trending among Ethiopians on social media. 

Eyewitnesses have confirmed to EHRC that among the victims 18 were daily laborers who took refuge in one location after the exchange of fire broke out in the town. 

In the Millennium locality of the town, eight other civilians were killed by government forces for allegedly “not cooperating” with government forces in the search effort for one missing member of the security forces. 

In Shebel Berenta district, east Gojjam zone of Ethiopia,  EHRC has confirmed that government security forces killed at least 15 ( including women) in extrajudicial killings after house-to-house searches. The incident happened following a fight between Fano forces and government troops on January 19, 2024. 

On December 27,2023, in Western Gojam, Quarit district government forces who were on patrol pulled six civilians from house-to-house search and executed them – EHRC has confirmed from its sources. 

Apart from those killed in different parts of Gojam, dozens were reported to be wounded. Damage to properties is damaged including the burning of 12 tuk tuks  – a livelihood for many families. 

This week a graphic video emerged on social media purportedly showing the hours after the extrajudicial killings in Merawi. It shows bodies littered on the streets. There were earlier reports that government forces dealt harshly with residents attempting to collect the bodies from the streets for burials. There were even cases when government forces shot dead some who were attempting to collect bodies from the street, according to news reports from local sources. 

So far, the Ethiopian government has not released a statement denying the incidents in Merawi and other parts of Gojam. The Abiy Ahmed administration rather made news of “political engagement” with the public  in Amhara, the return of old Ethiopian aircraft that was taken to Italy during the second Ethio-Italy war and the “Development” news dominated headlines in government media. His ruling party has more than 14 million members, as he has revealed,  and hundreds of thousands are believed to be deployed on social media platforms for information warfare. For that reason, the right abuse and the recurring extrajudicial killings did not get the attention it deserves – including from the international community.  The reaction falls short of the magnitude of the rights abuse in Ethiopia. 

On February 14, Spokesperson of the European Union issued a brief statement expressing concern and calling for an investigation. “The European Union is seriously concerned by the alleged targeted killings of civilians in the town of Merawi, in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. We call for an independent investigation into these events,” said the statement from the spokesperson.

Early this month, Ethiopian Parliament extended the state of emergency imposed in the Amhara region of Ethiopia by another four months catering for continued harsh military campaigns needs of Abiy Ahmed’s administration. 

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