Ethiopian Federal Troops Face Accusations of Civilian Casualties
On Thursday September 7, 2023, an Ethiopian opposition group made grave allegations against government forces, accusing them of indiscriminately killing numerous civilians in the Amhara region. The ongoing conflict between local militias and the army has created a volatile situation in this area.
The Enat party released a statement claiming that government troops had brutally murdered 29 innocent civilians, including children and the elderly, near their residences in a small town called Majete. Additionally, the party reported that drone strikes had tragically claimed the lives of at least 20 more civilians in two other locations within the region.
It is important to note that the BBC has not been able to independently verify these claims, and the government has yet to respond to these serious accusations.
The outbreak of violence in Amhara can be traced back to contentious decisions regarding the disbandment of a regional paramilitary force. This move, opposed by many, has left the region vulnerable to attacks and exacerbated long-standing tensions. In early August, local militias gained control of several major cities in Amhara, even briefly taking charge of an airport. This resulted in urban combat, leading to loss of life and the release of a significant number of prisoners.
Although the government successfully expelled the militias from the cities, sporadic fights have persisted this week in various small towns and villages. Despite the assurance from Field Martial Berhanu Jula, the head of the army, that armed groups in the region no longer pose a threat, reports of ongoing clashes continue to emerge. Unfortunately, the current internet shutdown has impeded access to reliable information with regards to the actual scale of the conflict.