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Killing, injury and arrests of Amhara civilians by security personnel during Timket celebrations

AAA has verified that between January 19-20, 2023, security personnel killed one youth, injured four others and arbitrary detained 25 civilians in Bole and Nefas-Silk sub-cities, Addis Ababa city in connection with Timket (Epiphany) celebrations.

Executive Summary

The Amhara Association of America (AAA) has verified that between January 19 and 20, 2023, security personnel in the Bole and Nefas-Silk sub-cities of Addis Ababa city carried out various identity-based abuses against civilians in connection with the Timket (Epiphany) celebration by followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC). The investigation found that Addis Ababa and Federal Police killed at least one youth, injured an additional four youth and arrested 25 civilians on the basis of their ethnic Amhara identity in Addis Ababa city, federal capital of Ethiopia.

Killing of an Amhara youth, injury of four others and arrests of 11 civilians in the Bole Bulbula area of Bole sub-city in Addis Ababa on January 20, 2023

AAA has verified from witnesses and victims’ family members that security forces perpetrated widespread human rights violations against civilians on January 20, 2023, during the Timket celebrations in Addis Ababa city (capital city of Ethiopia). The perpetrators were Addis Ababa police and Federal police which caused killing of at least one youth, bodily injury to four youths and arbitrary arrest of at least 11 civilians. On January 20, 2023, followers of the EOTC gathered for the yearly celebration of St. Michael’s day in Bole Bulbula area of Bole sub-city in Addis Ababa city. During the celebrations, the worshippers marched from the football stadium (Quas Meda) to Michael’s Church. The religious ceremony involved clergy wearing distinct robes and umbrellas containing various hues and performed hymns, while youth accompanied them dressed in their finest wear, while singing in choir.

As part of the religious ceremony, the holy Tabot (ceremonial replica of the Holy Ark of the Covenant) was transported to the Mariam Church in the Bole-Bulbula area however Addis Ababa police created a disturbance by arresting the youth choir leader. The reason of his arrest was the allegation that he was wearing a t-shirt depicting Emperor Tewodros II (a historic figure and former ruler of Ethiopia). The police members dragged him to the Addis Ababa police pick-up car alleging he was a supporter of Amhara Fano. While other youths gathered and peacefully requested the police free the young man, saying he had done nothing wrong. In response to the pleas of the youth, the security forces used excessive force with the help of their guns.


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