Ethiopia accuses the OLA of a new “massacre” of Amharas in Oromia and promises to “eliminate” the rebel group

Ethiopia accuses the OLA of a new "massacre" of Amharas in Oromia and promises to "eliminate" the rebel group

An opposition party speaks of nearly 200 deaths in the town of Mechara Lemlem

July 5. (EUROPA PRESS) –

The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, has accused the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) rebel group of a new “massacre” of members of the Amhara community in the Oromia region and has promised to “eliminate” the group, amid information that points to the death of hundreds of people in an attack against the town of Mechara Lemlem.

“The OLA, which is withdrawing due to the operations of the security forces, threatens civilians in the western part of the country. Civilians were massacred in Kelem, in the Oromia region,” the prime minister said in a series of messages posted on his official account on the social network Twitter.

“We regret the loss of our citizens,” said Abiy, who stressed that the authorities “will persecute this terrorist group until it is eliminated.” For his part, the OLA spokesman, Odaa Tarbii, has denied that the group was behind the attack and has pointed to the security forces as responsible.

Thus, Odaa has highlighted on Twitter that “two divisions of the Ethiopian Army and allied forces” occupy the area and added that “civilians were mass murdered by regime militias while the security forces did nothing.” “The regime thinks it can attribute responsibilities and avoid accountability,” he has criticized her.

For its part, the opposition Balderas party has denounced that at least 200 members of the Amhara community would have been massacred in the attack, according to the Ethiopian news portal Borkena. Witnesses quoted by the British television network BBC have highlighted that “corpses are still being recovered” in the area.

The event took place less than a week after the Ethiopian authorities raised the number of civilians massacred to around 340 in an attack carried out in mid-June by suspected members of the OLA against the town of Tole Kebele, located in the Oromia region, amid the worsening security situation in the African country.

The area of ​​Oromía in which the attack was carried out is close to the Gambela region, where dozens of people have died in recent days in an attack also blamed on members of the OLA, which has increased its activities in recent months. The group has dissociated itself from the attack in Oromia.

The OLA, split from the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) after the 2018 peace agreement, has claimed responsibility for several attacks –especially in Oromia– in recent months. The OLF fought for decades for the secession of the Oromia region, but in 2018 it announced that it was giving up the armed struggle, accepting the prime minister’s offer of amnesty.

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Written by Editor TLN

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