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DW Amharic - Eyewitness testimony of the killings in Merawi


Disclaimer: This is an English translation of an Amharic report taken from DW Amharic and is intended solely for information purposes.


DW Amharic - Eyewitness testimony of the killings in Merawi

February 15, 2024


Following the killing of civilians in Merawi town, residents were “displaced” to neighboring rural kebeles and to Bahir Dar city according to an eyewitness who spoke to Deutsche Welle. Various groups including EHRC have called for independent investigations which the government has rejected. They added residents displaced to Bahir Dar but “had to lay a sheet on the road after being denied entry”. The person said “the people are very shocked” explaining that the killed victims had no involvement in the fighting and “day workers” were among the victims. The state sponsored Ethiopian Human Rights Commission reported “at least 45 civilians were extrajudicially killed by government security forces being accused of ‘supporting Fano’”. Minister of Government Communication Services Dr. Legesse Tulu said, “the national defense force did not target any civilians” in opposition to reports from the EHRC and other groups.


Who said what about the killings?


Residents of Merawi town, the governmental Ethiopian Human Rights Commission said 45, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council said 80 and the embassies of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union called for independent investigations into the killing of civilians in Merawi town of North Gojjam Zone on January 29, 2024 (Tir 20, 2016 EC).


One eyewitness who preferred to remain anonymous for their safety said following the attack on civilians in Merawi town residents were extremely disturbed and many left the town towards rural areas in neighboring kebeles while the town has sustained heavy bombardment.


Reports of “displacement” of town residents  


The governmental Ethiopian Human Rights Commission reported “at least 45 civilians were extrajudicially killed by government security forces accused of ‘providing support to Fano’.” The commission added it learned an unknown number of persons detained after being told “you are Fano members” were similarly extrajudicially killed by government security forces. According to eyewitnesses town residents were “displaced” to neighboring rural kebeles and to Bahir Dar city.


Response from Government Communication Services 


Minister of Government Communication Services Dr. Legesse Tulu responded by telling Deutsche Welle “the national defense force did not target any civilians.” According to an eyewitness however, the majority of residents of Merawi killed by members of the national defense forces had no involvement in the fighting and included “day workers.”The European Union issued a statement through its spokesperson called for free and independent investigations into the killings in Merawi town of Amhara Region and for perpetrators to be held accountable. The Embassy of Canada in Ethiopia said the killings were “deeply” concerning. The Embassy of the United Kingdom said the act was “disturbing” and called for a “full investigation”.


Solomon Muchie

Shewaye Legesse

Eshete Bekele


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