International Rights Group Amnesty International on Friday accused Ethiopian security forces of committing grave human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions and torture, reported Reuters.
According to a new report released by the rights group, Ethiopian security forces in the Oromiya region have executed 39 opposition supporters and arrested more than 10,000 people accused of being members of an armed group since early 2019.
The report, which covers the period between December 2018 and December 2019, claimed that the victims were accused of supporting the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), which is a breakaway faction of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a former separatist rebel group which agreed to lay down arms after successful peace talks with Ethiopia’s Nobel peace prize-winning Prime Minister Mr. Abiy Ahmed.
Abiy’s tenure has witnessed a lot of ethnic conflict in the country, with thousands of people being internally displaced due to worsening security situation. The reforms announced by him also uncorked long-repressed tensions between Ethiopia’s many ethnic groups.
“Security forces have continued to violate human rights despite reforms introduced by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and this is due to widespread impunity and lack of accountability for those violations,” Amnesty International’s Ethiopia researcher Fisseha Tekle said.
The report even cited an incident when an Ethiopian soldier gunned down a 32-year-old businessman during a security crackdown last year because his phone went off during a public meeting,
Prime Minister Abiy has been asked to investigate allegations that state security forces have committed some serious human rights abuses including torture and unlawful killings since he came to power in 2018.
The Ethiopian government rejected malicious claims of extrajudicial killings, evictions, and destruction of property but assured that it would launch an independent investigation if there was evidence of any wrongdoing.
Ethiopia was set to hold elections in August but election proceedings have currently been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.