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Update on Developments in Ethiopia – May 29, 2023

Executive Summary

The Amhara Association of America (AAA) has verified that as of May 29th, 2023, ongoing ethnic and religious based conflict has led to widespread human rights violations throughout Addis Ababa city.

  • Attacks from federal and Oromia Region forces and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) have left scores of civilians killed in the North Shewa and East Wollega Zones of Oromia Region,

  • The Oromo-dominated Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) has continued its attacks on multiple areas of Amhara Region and has been met with fierce resistance from Fano which have led to casualties among the Oromo ENDF. The ENDF has continued heavy artillery shelling of monasteries and churches in Debre Elias Woreda (East Gojjam Zone, Amhara Region).

  • New reports reveal widespread use of torture and related human rights violations. At least 28 detained Amhara victims which were previously missing have been identified. In addition, names of suspected perpetrators (key security officials) have also been identified.

  • Recent demolitions of Mosques in and around Addis Ababa by Oromia Region authorities prompted demonstrations during which security forces fired on unarmed protesters leading to civilian casualties.

  • Renewed pressure from Federal and Oromia Region authorities and the state-sponsored Oromia Nations and Nationalities Synod group against leaders of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) have been followed by new attacks, arrests and threats against followers of the EOTC and influencers.

Compiled updates on various ongoing developments are available below.

Update on War and Developments in Amhara Region

  • According to AAA’s sources, on May 29th, 2023, special commando forces were deployed to Yibar Kebele of Meragna Woreda (North Shewa Zone) by helicopter. Federal forces in this area are attempting encircle local Fano and militias which is expected to exacerbate fighting. In addition, the main road connecting Merhabete (North Shewa Zone) to Jama woreda (South Wollo Zone) has been closed due to tensions in this area. The Federal Government has continued deploying ENDF reinforcement units were previously deployed to Jama and Were-Ilu Woredas (South Wollo Zone) and Mergana Woreda on May 27th, 2023 as well.

  • According to Ethio-News, since May 26th, 2023, heavy gunfire was heard in Debre Elias Woreda (East Gojjam Zone).1 The gunfire was heard inside St. Melka Aste Holy Trinity Monastery. Worshippers and monks are reportedly killed and injured by ENDF forces. On May 29th, 2023, heavy artillery was fired on the monasteries including the St. Melka Aste Holy Trinity Monastery.

  • According to Ethio-News, residents of Amhara Region have continued to voice fierce opposition to the Prosperity Party regime’s war on Amhara people.3 Federal forces have continued mass arrests and harassment of youth, road closures and pressuring locals to stop their resistance through coercion and terror. Meanwhile, news of continued mobilization of armed forces equipped with heavy weapons have continued to emerge in Welkait, Raya and throughout Tigray Region.


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