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BBC Amharic - Reports Indicate That Over 27 “Peaceful Civilians” Were Killed by “Government Forces” in the Amhara Region This Week

https://www.bbc.com/amharic/articles/cley9eeyxv0o Disclaimer: This is an English translation of an Amharic article taken from BBC Amharic and is intended solely for information purposes.


BBC Amharic - Reports indicate that over 27 “peaceful civilians” were killed by “government forces” in the Amhara Region this week


June 28, 2024


Eyewitnesses and residents in North Shewa and Gojjam Zones of the Amhara Region told BBC that within a few days “government forces” killed “noncombatant civilians” in door-to-door raids and open public executions.


The attacks happened on Monday, June 24th, 2024, and Wednesday, June 26th, 2024. Reports indicate that more than 27 innocent civilians have been killed.


Residents of Tarma Ber Woreda in Shola Meda, a small rural town found a little outside the town of Debre Sina in the North Shewa Zone, told BBC that on June 24, 2024, government forces killed at least 15 people and injured about 4 more people.


A witness who survived the attack told BBC that the incident occurred at about 5:30 pm around a neighborhood of the town known as Agam Ber Megenteya. The witness told BBC that the majority of the civilians killed were local farmers from nearby kebeles that came to receive fertilizer.


According to the witness about 9 to 12 soldiers “arrived and immediately began to shoot at the store indiscriminately”. This was when the witness and other farmers waiting to load bags of fertilizer became victims of the attack.


Witnesses also said “government forces” entered a nearby local cafe by the name Mamush Shay Bet and killed 8 of the customers there.


“We were waiting to load the fertilizer around the same area as the cafe. The 8 people in the cafe died right there” said the witness. The witness and a few others survived by quickly jumping into the store’s backroom.


“They came suddenly, finished us, and left” said another eyewitness who survived the attack. “I don’t know what they saw. It was in the evening. They never even came to enforce curfew before. At about 6 pm they came to this line called Agam Ber Megenteya. There they opened fire. They killed about 5 or 6 people that were on the street. Some had run to a cafe nearby. The soldiers went inside the cafe and massacred everyone inside”. The witness told BBC that 11 people were killed in the cafe he was in alone. The witness and about 3 other people were able to escape through a back room inside the cafe. Unfortunately, the witness found that his brother who was in his 20s was among those killed on the street.


A father told BBC that his family is currently holding a mourning service in Debre Sina for his 14-year-old son who was killed in the attack. The 14-year-old boy used to live with his grandparents.


Another resident who heard the gunshots confirmed that he was personally aware that at least 11 people were killed. He told BBC that the remaining injured residents were taken to Shola Meda and Debre Birhan hospitals.


Another witness explained that he was able to confirm the names of all 11 of the deceased. He explained that additional bodies were found the next morning and the updated number of people killed in the attack was 15.


“...We buried about 8 people yesterday (June 22, 2024), in the kebeles Abdilak, Mane Amba, Arachelenko, Woyn Wuha, Shenkorge, Endoday, Dukayt, and Dib Amba” said the witness. “I think the ‘government forces’ came and carried out the killings following rumors of 3 Fano soldiers that came to the town to attend the funerals.”


The witness explained that he was able to confirm the attackers were “government troops” based on the uniform they were wearing and the military camp they set up in a nearby area called Sina.


In a similar incident on June 24, 2024, residents of Adet town in Yilmana Densa Woreda, North Gojjam Zone, Amhara Region reported that innocent civilians were killed. The residents report that 11 civilians were killed by government forces in an act of revenge.


The residents confirmed that 10 men and one woman were killed in the attack. The attack came at about 3 pm following heavy fighting earlier in the day between Fano fighters and government forces. The fighting had lasted for a couple of hours.


The killings followed the evacuation of Fano fighters from the town. The government forces went on door-to-door raids and attacked people found on the streets. They conducted the killings after making accusations such as “you provide information to Fano” to the residents.


“Since Fano controlled the city the entire day and injured a lot of people on their (government) side, they were angry and killed every person they ran into” said a resident of Adet town. The witness also confirmed that 11 people were killed in the attack in total, some of whom were day laborers by profession.


“Only two young men were killed on the street. The rest were dragged out of their homes and killed” said another resident. The resident confirmed most of the victims were young men and one of the victims was not even 18 years old yet.


Another resident told BBC that in addition to the 11 people killed, on the next day, June 25, 2024, in an area near the border of the city called Rebereb, 4 additional people were killed. The resident explained the victims included a father and son.


Residents said the deceased were buried on the same day or the morning after in “Kelem Gabriel” Orthodox Church. The residents say following the killings the town of Adet located 43 kilometers from the region’s capital Bahir Dar is engulfed by sadness.


“The town had drowned in sadness. Every face you see is tears and sorrow. Yesterday at the wake you couldn’t tell who was family from who wasn’t. Everyone was crying” said the residents to explain how much grief they were in.


Residents explained there have been restrictions on transportation, trade, and private businesses in Adet town following the killings. Residents also indicated that attacks like this are not new and have occurred before in Adet town.


“Hotels are closed. There are no open businesses. All vehicle roads are closed. There aren’t even any Bajajs (small 3-wheeled vehicles used for transport)” said a resident explaining the tension in the town. Another resident said that beginning Tuesday the Orthodox church has decreed a 7-day prayer for the souls of the deceased.


BBC’s attempts to contact the region’s government officials following the attack were unsuccessful.


In late May of 2024, “government forces” killed more than 20 people in the West and East Gojjam Zones of the Amhara Region. Several advocacy institutions have repeatedly reported that “peaceful civilians” were prone to be victims of the “armed conflict” between Fano and government forces that began in July of last year.

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