Massacre of Amhara IDPs by OLA in Anno town of Gobuseyo Woreda in East Wollega Zone
The Amhara Association of America (AAA) verified that on February 2nd, 2023, an attack by Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) militants left at least 41 Amhara IDPs and residents dead and an additional 12 injured in Anno town (Gobuseyo Woreda, East Wollega Zone, Oromia Region, Ethiopia).
The Amhara Association of America (AAA) has undertaken a human rights investigation over a reported ethnic-based massacre of Amhara civilians on February 2nd, 2023, in Anno town (Gobuseyo Woreda, East Wollega Zone, Oromia Region, Ethiopia) by the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA). From interviews with several eyewitnesses, survivors, and victims’ families as well as examining photographs and videos, AAA has verified the attack by the OLA militants left at least 41 Amhara IDPs and residents of Anno town killed and an additional 12 suffering injuries ranging in severity between minor to serious.
In addition, the militants were engaged in extensive looting and destruction of houses and properties belonging to Amhara civilians. The massacre was ethnic-based, only Amharas and their properties were selectively targeted and attacked. The attack was indiscriminate in nature and targeted anyone with an Amhara identity regardless of age, sex, and disability. Significant numbers of victims are IDPs forcibly displaced from the town’s surrounding rural kebeles following similar ethnic-based attacks by OLA, especially in October 2022. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) also reported about the same incident that the OLA militants killed 50 people of which 42 were IDPs displaced from 13 kebeles (11 kebeles in Gobuseyo Woreda and 2 from surrounding woredas) and 8 others were injured. The EHRC also said that ethnic Amharas were selectively killed on grounds of their identities. The EHRC also reported that the militants extensively looted properties including from an IDP camp.
The Ethnic-based Massacre
According to testimonies from eyewitnesses and victims’ families, the heavily armed OLA militants came in large numbers and entered Anno town on February 2nd, 2023, at around 5:20 a.m. which faced little resistance from local security forces and private gun owners who were both under-equipped and outnumbered. After the OLA entered the town, they immediately began attacking Amhara residents and properties. The exact number of causalities was estimated differentially across different sources. Tilahun Kassa (name changed), a resident of Anno town and an eyewitness of the attack, estimated the number of killed Amhara civilians to be beyond 100. However, AAA could only verify the killing of 41 Amhara civilians and injury of an additional 12.