ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s government has described accusations from rights group Amnesty International that its soldiers illegally killed people in Oromia regional state in 2019 as “malicious claims”.
On Friday, Amnesty International released a report detailing a number of alleged human rights abuses in Oromia committed as part of a security operation to deal with an armed group, the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).
These included the extrajudicial killing of 39 people and mass round-ups.
But in a statement over the weekend, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the accusations were “lies… purposefully disseminated by forces that seek to actively undermine initiatives of dialogue, peace and stability on the area”.
It described Amnesty International’s report as a “one-sided snapshot security analysis” that did not take into account the peace-making efforts in the region.
In the statement, the government also said it “strongly rejects malicious claims of extrajudicial killings, evictions and destruction of property” but would launch an independent investigation if there was evidence of any wrongdoing.
In its reaction, the regional authority in Oromia said that the report had failed to mention the violence that armed groups had committed.
Amnesty International had also said that in Amhara regional state soldiers stood by as 130 people were killed in ethnic clashes.
The regional government there said the report was biased and risked igniting further conflict.
Image: A graphic showing a soldier’s boot [Amnesty/Victor Ndula]