Rights Group Condemns ‘Massacre of Civilians in Wollega’

ADDIS ABEBA – Local human rights agency has “unequivocally condemned the massacre of civilians” in Oromia Region’s Wollega Zone, its chief commissioner said today.

The attacks were committed on November 1, 2020, by a group of armed and unarmed assailants that numbered up to 60 in the zone’s Gawa-Kanka, Gilla-Gogola, and Seka-Jerbi kebeles, according to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The attack occurred soon after the withdrawal of federal soldiers from the areas around noon the same day, EHRC said quoting its source in the area.

The assailants targeted ethnic Amharas residing in the three kebeles, according to the Commission.

“They were dragged from their homes and taken to a school, where they were killed,” it said.

Official figures state a death toll of 32 civilians, but preliminary evidence obtained by EHRC indicates the number is very likely to exceed that tally.

“These gruesome killings of civilians are unconscionable and flout basic principles of humanity,” said Daniel Bekele, Chief Commissioner of EHRC.

“No amount of grievance can justify such brutality, and perpetrators should be held to account.”

Earlier today, authorities blamed the Oromo Liberation Army for carrying out the attacks and vowed to take action.

“EHRC urges federal and regional authorities to promptly launch an independent investigation into the killings and shed light on the reasons behind the military’s withdrawal from an area long known to be vulnerable to attacks,” EHRC said.

The Commission also urged for the government to take appropriate measures to ensure the security of civilians and called on authorities to ensure that victims and their families obtain full redress.


Featured Image: Daniel Bekele Commissioner of EHRC