The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on Thursday said at least 210 people have been killed over several days of ethnic violence in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, reported Reuters.
The state-affiliated human rights commission said it had received reports that some 150 people were killed on August 18 by alleged members of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), a rebel group, in the East Wollega area of Oromia. The OLA has been designated as a terrorist group by the government.
The attack took place after security forces withdrew from Gida-Kirimu in the western region.
“The area’s residents and others have told the commission more than 150 people were killed by the gunmen,” the EHRC said.
The incident forced women and children to flee to adjacent areas, fearing further attacks, and sparked a wave of revenge killings. A further 60 people were killed a day later in retaliatory attacks.
“In subsequent days, some residents carried out ethnic-based reprisal attacks, killing more than 60 people,” the commission said.
The government-appointed body said that the attack was carried out along ethnic lines. It, however, did not state who was responsible for the acts of revenge that triggered a further exodus of civilians fleeing the violence.
The EHRC called for immediate action to prevent the instability from spreading further and an investigation into why security forces withdrew from the troubled area.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the Security Council that the Ethiopian conflict, which began in the northern Tigray region in November, has spread beyond the Tigray region, and “a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding before our eyes.”
“Inflammatory rhetoric and ethnic profiling are tearing apart the social fabric of the country,” he told the 15-member council.
He urged all parties to immediately end hostilities without preconditions and seize that opportunity to negotiate a lasting ceasefire.