Nairobi, Kenya (AP) — Heavy Armed Ethiopia Men appeared around a small rural village in the Oromia region, scaring residents already at stake after a recent clash between government forces and rebels.
"The militants have assured us that they will not touch us. They said they were not after us," said Resident Null. Hussein Abdi told The Associated Press. "But in reality, they surrounded our entire village for a deadly slaughter. What happened the next day was a complete blood bath."
Abdi is on the roof. I hid in and ran away. This is a terrifying witness who has witnessed one of the worst mass slaughter in Ethiopia in recent years. On June 18, an explosive outburst of ethnic violence in Africa's second most populous country slaughtered hundreds of people, primarily the Amhara people, in and around Thor village.
Witnesses told AP that they were still finding bodies, and some were placed in mass graves containing dozens of people. The Amharic Society of the United States said it had confirmed that 503 civilians had been killed. Ethiopian authorities have not released figures. One witness, Mohammed Kemal, said he had witnessed 430 burials, while others were still exposed and disassembled.
Kemal begged the Ethiopian government to relocate the survivors, saying they threatened to return the armed men.
"They killed infants, children, women, and the elderly," said resident Ahmed Kasim. According to the Amharic Society of the United States, the dead included 100-year-old and one-month-old babies, and some were killed in mosques trying to hide.
Residents and local Oromia officials have accused the Oromia Liberation Army, an armed group declared by the Ethiopian government to be a terrorist organization. An OLA spokesman denied that, claiming that federal and local militias had attacked villagers who were perceived to support the OLA when they withdrew from the OLA's attack.
Again, the Ethiopians were wondering why the federal government was unable to protect them from the violent aspects of national national tensions, and why the ethnic minorities of the federal system based on identity. I'm wondering if it remains so vulnerable.
Ethiopia's most famous pop star, Tedia Flo, highlights the crisis that has worsened over the past four years and dedicates his songs to the dead civilians. Was released this week.
"When the mountain of death comes in front of you, quietness is by no means an option," says one of his lyrics.
On Friday, thousands of students at the University of Gondar in the neighboring Amhara region protested the killings and demanded justice.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said security forces had launched a military operation against the OLA, but many have seen deadly cycles in the past. Ethiopians are skeptical.
Oromia's president, Simeris Abdisa, admitted on Thursday that it would be difficult to secure security everywhere, but the current operation is "the ability to move from enemy location to location. It will hurt. "
Ethnic Amharics are the second largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, but have been attacked in some minority areas. In the last three years alone, attacks in the Benishangrugums and Oromia regions have killed dozens of people.
"Amharic people living outside the region are not protected because they do not have legal and political representatives," said Muluken Tesfaw, a community activist who tracks abuse of Amharic people. .. "There was even a speech by Oromia local government officials aiming to reduce Amharic-speaking people."
"The anti-Amharic story has been around for more than 50 years," the opposition said. NaMA Party Chairman Beretemora said. "Therefore, Amharics living in Oromia and Benishangul are targeted." He also accused some members of the ruling party in the Oromia region "working or sympathizing for the Oromia Liberation Army." did.
The recent mass slaughter has sounded an international alarm. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has called on the Ethiopian authorities to conduct a "quick, impartial and thorough" investigation. The US State Department has called on Ethiopians to "refuse violence and pursue peace."
Ethiopia suffers from ethnic tensions in some parts of the country and fatal conflicts in the northern Tigray region, which had a profound impact on the once fast-growing economy. However, the Prime Minister is categorically insisting that a better day will come.
"There is no doubt that Ethiopia is on the road to prosperity," he declared in a parliamentary speech this month.
However, Ethiopians who escaped the latest attacks are seeking answers.
Nur Hussein said he and other Tole villagers called nearby officials about the appearance of armed men shortly before the violence exploded. "Their reaction was subdued. They said there was no specific threat to deal with, but see what was unfolded," he said. "God willingly overcomes this, but it is a wound that lives with us forever."
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