ADDIS ABABA – Amnesty International has accused Ethiopia’s military of extrajudicial executions and arbitrary arrests in response to attacks by armed groups and inter-communal violence in Amhara and Oromia.
The London-based right group released a report on Friday that documents crimes allegedly committed by soldiers throughout 2019 in including the death of at least 39 people in western Oromia.
The report details mass arrests, at least 10, 000 in the same year, and re-education programs for suspected supporters of the armed group.
It says the individuals were accused, but never charged, for “supporting, sharing information with and feeding” members of Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) – a rebel group operating in the region.
Amnesty has also documented the alleged role of security forces in inter-communal violence in the north-western Amhara state.
It says at least 130 people were killed in January 2019 in inter-communal clashes between the Amhara and Qimant community – a minority group that voted for their own autonomous administrative unit in September 2017, resulting in clashes.
In January along, fifty-eight people were killed in a conflict within 24 hours as soldiers in a nearby camp failed to respond to cries for help, Amnesty alleges.
‘Urgent Measures Needed’
Security forces committed grave violations between December 2018 and December 2019 despite reforms that led to the release of thousands of detainees, expansion of the civic and political space and repeal of draconian laws, which were previously used to repress human rights.
“The Ethiopian authorities have made notable progress in changing the country’s bleak human rights record,” Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.
“However, it is unacceptable that the security forces should be allowed to carry on committing human rights violations with impunity,” said Muchena.
“With elections on the horizon, these violations and abuses could escalate out of control unless the government takes urgent measures to ensure security forces act within the law and remain impartial in undertaking their duties.”