The attack and siege of Haro town by joint Oromia Special Forces (OSF) & Oromo Liberation Army (OLA)
(in Kiremu Woreda of East Wollega Zone in Oromia Region in Ethiopia)
Based on data collected from survivors and families of victims, the Amhara Association of America (AAA) has verified that between December 18th and 26th, 2022, a coalition of Oromia Special Forces (OSF) and Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) militants killed at least 46 Amhara civilians and injured an additional 16 civilians in three separate incidents in Haro town of Kiremu Woreda in East Wollega Zone and the surrounding area (Oromia Region, Ethiopia). The deadliest incident occurred on December 23rd, 2022 during which the joint OSF-OLA forces accompanied by Qeerro (ultranationalist youth) killed at least 32 Amhara IDPs and civilians and injured an additional 16 in Haro.
The attacks also caused further displacement of Amhara IDPs and Haro town residents to the neighboring Amhara Region. The town hosted a large number of IDPs which faced secondary displacement as a result of the attack in addition to other residents who were also displaced. These IDPs are now facing multiple issues including lack of access to medicine, humanitarian aid, and essential public services.
Three days after the massacre, on December 26th, 2022, another two Amhara civilians who were in a nearby jungle seeking refuge were attacked and killed by OLA forces. Lastly, on December 18th, 2022, OLA forces killed 12 Amhara civilians in Haro Kebele including an old sick woman in Joj Kebele (Amuru Woreda, Horo Guduru Wollega Zone) in the same region while they were attempting to escape to the Amhara Region.
The December 23rd Attack on Haro Kebele
The first incident took place in Haro Kebele on December 23rd, 2022. Haro Kebele hosted an estimated 80,000 Amhara IDPs displaced from 19 surrounding kebeles in three woredas including Kiremu, Amuru and Jardega Jarte. The following kebeles were known to host large numbers of IDPs: Gudena Jiregna, Nachino, Chinina, Wolmay rural Kebeles, and Kiremu town, following successive identity-based attacks by the OLA and OSF since at least August 2021. Throughout this period, Haro was considered a relatively safe area for Amharas who were targeted on grounds of their identity in neighboring areas of Oromia Region. On December 23rd, 2022, beginning from 5:00 a.m., joint OSF-OLA militants were deployed in 6 truckloads and opened fire on residents of Haro town.
The joint OSF-OLA forces were heavily armed and were able to overwhelm the ill-equipped Amhara farmers who tried to protect their families with whatever means they had. AAA’s sources confirmed to investigators that perpetrators included the OSF by their distinctive uniforms from afar and added that some of the fallen invading militants had OSF identification cards while others were identified as OLA militants.