The death toll from the Wollega massacre in western Ethiopia has surpassed 1500 with as many as 12 members of the same family wiped out by militants of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), according to eyewitnesses.
The OLF troops that the Ethiopian government call ‘Shane’ are seen in a video footage going house to house and killing ethnic Amhara civilians on Saturday in Gimbi district of Wollega zone western Ethiopia, Eyewitnesses told APA that on Tuesday.
The eyewitnesses who are engaged in the collection and burying of the dead told APA that the victims are mostly women and children.
The massacre that seemd to have been orchestrated to target an entire community in Tole locality of Gimbi district has hit some families harder and many have lost multiple members to the attack.
There have been recurring massacres in Wollega targeting ethnic Amhara since Abiy Ahmed became prime minister of Ethiopia following the resignation of Hailemariam Desalegn in March 2018.
Unverified video footage purportedly shows the village that was attacked by radical Oromo armed groups, as the attackers are seen going house to house as they please.
Currently, members of the Ethiopian Defense Force are deployed but according to eyewitnesses they neither tried to chase the militants nor extend help to the victims.
Those who survived the attack said they were attacked only because of their ethnic Amhara identity.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed himself, who usually avoids sharing messages about the recurring massacre of ethnic Amhara in Wollega, remarked about the latest incident this time around.
He said “Attacks on innocent civilians and destruction of their livelihoods by illegal and irregular forces is unacceptable. There is zero tolerance for horrific acts claiming lives recently in both Benishangul and Oromia regions by elements whose main objective is to terrorise communities.”
His government has been widely criticized for failing to provide protection to innocent and unarmed civilians whom the radicalized ethnic Oromo armed groups found as an easy target to push their political agenda.
Sources say his government has lost significant public trust in connection with the security situation in the country, and because of the way he handled the conflict with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
His government has recently made claims that the capacity of law enforcement and the defense forces has reached a point where it can effectively respond to situations that threaten the security of the country – something that is not yet demonstrated, according to his critics.