Shambel, another witness who gave only his first name over fears for his safety, said the local Amhara community was desperately seeking to be relocated “before another round of mass killings happen”. He said ethnic Amhara who settled in the area about 30 years ago in resettlement programmes were being “killed like chickens”
Both witnesses blamed the Oromo Liberation Army for the attacks. In a statement, the Oromia regional government also blamed the OLA, saying the rebels had attacked “after being unable to resist the operations launched by [federal] security forces”.
An OLA spokesperson, Odaa Tarbii, denied the allegations. “The attack you are referring to was committed by the regime’s military and local militia as they retreated from their camp in Gimbi following our recent offensive,” he said in a message to the AP.
“They escaped to an area called Tole, where they attacked the local population and destroyed their property as retaliation for their perceived support for the OLA. Our fighters had not even reached that area when the attacks took place.”
Ethiopia is experiencing widespread ethnic tensions in several regions, most of them over historical grievances and political tensions. The Amhara people, the second-largest ethnic group among Ethiopia’s more than 110 million population, have been targeted frequently in regions like Oromia.
The government-appointed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission on Sunday called on the federal government to find a “lasting solution” to the killing of civilians and protect them from such attacks.