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BBC Amharic - Five People Killed and 18 Houses Burned Down in South Gonder Say Victims and Eyewitnesses

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

BBC Amharic - Five people killed and 18 houses burned down in South Gonder say victims and eyewitnesses

April 23, 2024 (Miyazia 15, 2016 EC)

On Monday, April 15, 2024 (Miyazia 7, 2016 EC) in Agona Kebele of Estie Woreda in South Gonder Zone, Amhara Region following fighting between Fano and government forces residents were killed and a large number of houses were burned down say family members of victims and eyewitnesses who spoke to BBC.

Agona is located central to Gayint, Moja, Estie and Simada Woredas of South Gonder Zone and Fano fighters had encountered government forces suddenly on the road when the two exchanged gunfire after which the attack took place according to four residents.

The Fano fighters came from Estie Woreda and government security forces were en route to Gayint Woreda when they encountered each other and an attack was carried out on civilians and residential houses, residents say.

One local resident says the attack was carried out on the morning of Monday, April 15th at around 9 am, “government forces carried out the attack because they sustained losses”.

One resident of Agona described the attack as follows, “they struck civilians they encountered on the road and in the town including a woman and four men.”

Another resident said, “they opened the pool hall and massacred the people who were playing inside before leaving” and added “Fano forces were not present in the area”.

A religious father whose 22 year old brother was killed told BBC their younger brother was hiding in a pool hall when he was killed alongside three of his friends.

The religious father said he had reached his brother while he was still alive but he was not able to take him to a medical center and he lost his life as they tried to administer medical care from their house.

He spoke about his brother saying “he had no ties with Fano. They cut down my brother who I looked after…he was a student. Because there is no school he was tending to the harvests, he was a farmer.”

The religious father said the victims were four men and a young girl who was gathering water.

The religious father added the burials for all of the victims was held the following day, last week Tuesday at the “Agona Maryam” Church.

Residents said the killing of the innocent civilians was carried out by soldiers of the National Defense Force who were wearing their uniforms and using a distinctive vehicle.

One resident said they carried out the killings accusing residents of supporting the Fano and said “if you all were not here, the attack would not have happened.”

After government forces withdrew from the town and returned along the Gayint line they carried out an attack which left 18 residential houses burned down, residents told BBC.

BBC received footage of the houses being burned down on social media but was not able to verify the authenticity.

BBC’s efforts to receive a response from the South Gonder Zonal Administration and local Command Post about the killing of residents and burning of houses was not successful.

One resident whose house was burned down said 15 residential houses and 2 gojo houses were burned down and theirs was among the three houses that were completely destroyed.

The resident told BBC there was 30,000 birr in raw cash, an estimated 90,000 birr worth of grain meant for selling, food for sustenance and other property inside the house when it was burned down.

Victims of the attack say they “took turns” staying in relatives’ homes and told BBC they contemplated suicide.

Another resident whose commercial and residential houses (the property is divided in two) were burned down said it had only been a year since they constructed the house.

When local residents saw smoke they tried to return to the area but they saw that they [army soldiers] were shooting the houses as well.

One resident was told her house was being burned as she was fleeing and when residents tried to put the fire out, government forces identified as ENDF opened fire preventing them from doing so, and the house was burned down with everything inside.

The resident said she has been receiving assistance from the local community after her house was burned down using “gas and lighter”.

At the time of the burning and killing, local residents left the town to “save their lives” which helped to reduce the casualty count.


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