Update on Developments in Ethiopia – May 22, 2023
The Amhara Association of America (AAA) has verified that as of May 22nd, 2023, large scale human rights violations continue as a result of the Abiy regime’s war on Amhara Region including indiscriminate shelling of civilian populations by the Oromo Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), mass arrests and a renewed attack on the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC). In parallel, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has launched artillery strikes onto the Welkait Tegede Setit Humera Zone and are mobilizing to launch invasions into Telemt and Raya. Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) continues its activities in Oromia Region which have also victimized civilians. Updates based on AAA’s independent investigations and assorted reports from independent media outlets are compiled below by geographic location and topic.
Welkait Tegede Setit Humera, North Gonder, Central Gonder Zones, Amhara
According to reporting from Voice of Amhara, between May 21st and 22nd, 2023, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have begun firing heavy artillery on security forces stationed at the Tekeze River in Welkait Tegede Setit Humera Zone, from Adi Goshu direction.
On May 17th, Ethio-News reported that a rally which was planned to take place on May 17th, in Eastern Dembia (Central Gonder) in support of the Prosperity Party’s crackdown on Fano was canceled after Fano members expressed their concerns that it would not bring peace. In nearby Nefas Mewcha, another rally was canceled after a warning message was circulated at night.
Farmers in the Telemt Woredas of the North Gonder Zone are facing a severe scarcity of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers and seeds. There have been reports that certain TPLF entities are misleading farmers by promising to provide these inputs if they travel to Shire in the Tigray Region. However, this appears to be a deceptive tactic aimed at displacing Amharas from the area. Additionally, leaders from the East Telemt Woreda have informed Ethio-News that the TPLF militias are receiving logistics support from the ENDF. The ENDF justifies this support as a means to disarm the TPLF. Sibhat Mebratu, the Commander of TPLF’s Army 111, has written a letter to the ENDF, urging them to expel Amhara militias from the Telemt and Welkait areas in the name of peace. The TPLF leadership claims to have received permission from the Federal Government to seize Raya and Telemt swiftly but acknowledges that capturing Welkait will take more time. The TPLF is mobilizing its fighters extensively following the Ethiopian National Election Board’s denial of their legal status restoration. There have been sightings of TPLF militias moving cannons in Maychew, which they claim are intended for Eritrea.
On May 18th, Ethio-News Reports that protests called by the government in Tinfaz Begela and Belesa Woredas (Gonder), were flipped into anti-government protests when protesters chanted, “all Amhara is Fano”, “PP is killer of Amhara”, and made demands to stop the illegal detainment of Amharas. In Maksegnit (Central Gonder), a protest against Fano was aborted by residents. In East and West Dembia (Chahit and Kola Diba) towns (Central Gonder), protests called by the government were canceled due to pressure from local youth and other residents.