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EHRC - Continued armed conflict in Amhara Region and extra-judicial killings of civilians

Disclaimer: This is an English translation of an Amharic Press Release of EHRC and is intended solely for information purposes.

EHRC - Continued armed conflict in Amhara Region and extra-judicial killings of civilians

February 13, 2024 - Press Release

All parties to the conflict should embrace peaceful dialogue and immediately stop extra-judicial killings and ensure accountability for a lasting solution.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) continues to call for a peaceful solution in order to reach a settlement to the armed conflict in Amhara Region which has led to widespread human rights violations, and EHRC has repeatedly called for immediate measures to help prevent further civilian casualties. In various parts of the region and overall in the context of conflict, in addition to casualties against civilians and attacks carried out by armed groups, government security forces have carried out extrajudicial killings against civilians which continues to be of great concern and have yet to be resolved. The armed conflict has led to violations of human rights and disruptions to social activities of residents which the commission has followed closely through discussions with eyewitnesses, victims, family members of victims and government.

On January 29, 2024 (Tir 20, 2016 EC) fighting took place between government security forces and armed forces (known as Fano) in Merawi town of North Gojjam Zone starting from 6 am in the morning. Although EHRC is still conducting investigations into harm to civilians after the fighting, the commission has not yet received a response from relevant authorities for information and therefore has been unable to present full details.

A comprehensive investigation is needed however based on investigations conducted thus far, EHRC has been able to confirm that government security forces extrajudicially killed at least 45 civilians accused of “providing support to Fano” who have yet to be identified. Government security forces also extrajudicially killed an unknown number of people who were detained and accused of “being Fano members.” Based on information received by the commission, it has not been possible to verify the names of 45 civilians, however it believes the extent of casualties may be beyond this figure.

Witnesses who spoke to EHRC about the incident said day workers who left their home at morning heard the gunfire and took shelter in a single place and 18 civilians were killed, and in the area of Kebele 02 (commonly known as Millenium) government security forces who were seeking a missing member killed 8 people who they accused of “failing to cooperate in the search”, and over 12 bajaj vehicles were also burned down by the government security forces.

On another side, on January 19, 2024 (Tir 10, 2016 EC) in Yeidwuha town of Shebel Berenta Woreda in East Gojjam Zone, gunfire exchange took place between government security forces and Fano militants after which the militants left the town and then government security forces undertook door-to-door searches and extrajudicially killed at least 15 people (including women) they encountered on the streets and injured another two people. In another incident, on January 15, 2024 (Tir 6, 2016 EC), in a place called Absera in Weybeyigne Kebele of Quarit Woreda in West Gojjam Zone, government security forces deployed to the area for military surveillance conducted house-to-house searches and pulled out 6 people from their homes and extrajudicially killed them, according to witnesses that spoke to EHRC.

EHRC Executive Commissioner Dr. Daniel Bekele says “suffering on all sides including to residents and civilians has drastically increased as a result of this conflict, therefore we call on all parties to accept that the only way to find a lasting solution is through peaceful dialogue at which time comprehensive investigations should be carried out to ensure accountability and ensure victims receive compensation.”


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