Update on a campaign of massacres against ethnic Amhara civilians by the Oromia Special Force (OSF)
(in Kiremu town in East Wollega Zone of Ethiopia’s Oromia Region)
‘Show us if you know or see neftegnas, we must eliminate them’
The Amhara Association of America (AAA) has verified that between November 18 and 20, 2022, the Oromia Special Force (OSF) have killed at least 25 ethnic Amhara civilians, injured 5 others, destroyed and looted Amharas’ properties, and caused displacement of thousands in Kiremu town (district) of East Wollega Zone (Oromia Region, Ethiopia). 1 AAA has also received reports of direct involvement of government officials in the attacks, including killings led by the Kiremu town administrator on November 20, 2022.
The tension between OSF and local Amharas mounted since October 16th, 2022 when the woreda administration started releasing hundreds of ethnic Oromo who were detained because they were proven to be members or supporters/collaborators of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA). The tension escalated after the OSF’s plans to transfer Amharas who were unjustly detained for months under suspicions of organizing Amharas to defend against attacks from the OLA, became known. These arbitrarily detained Amharas not only face high risk of mistreatment but face the possibility of mass execution, which the OSF has undertaken in the past.
November 18, 2022 - OSF kills 13 Amhara civilians in a mass execution
On November 18th, 2022, the OSF attempted to follow through by transfering 26 arbitrarily arrested Amharas from Kiremu to Nekemte (administrative center of East Wollega Zone). These Amharas were arbitrarily detained for three months without any charges and accused of organizing Amharas to defend against repeated attacks from the OLA. When the OSF reached a place called Chinina in the same woreda, Amharas voiced opposition to the transfer of the Amhara detainees to Nekemte and they requested that the OSF charge and prosecute the detainees in their woreda. The OSF refused and opened fire on the Amhara civilians, which resulted in the immediate deaths of 13 Amharas. All roads to hospitals are closed by OSF and OLA and injured civilians were not able to get medical treatment. At least one of the injured victims, Kere Reta, died from their injuries the next day. While some bodies are still uncollected, many of the victims are buried in Haro St. George’s Church’s graveyard (Kiremu, East Wollega) and Wodesa Dima St. Teklehaimanot Church’s graveyard (in the same woreda). Following the attack, Amhara residents of Kiremu Woreda, estimated to be up to 20,000, have been displaced to Haro town.