EHRC: Security Forces Killed Dozens Of Civilians Suspected Of Supporting Rebels

Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on Wednesday said the security forces killed a number of civilians in Gambella in June who were suspected of supporting the rebels after an attack on the south-western city, reported The Daily Sabah.

On June 14, the Gambella Liberation Front (GLF) and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), a rebel group branded a terrorist organization by the Ethiopian government, launched a joint assault that triggered a hours long gunfight.

In a 13-page report, the EHRC said after soldiers successfully repelled the attack, regional forces killed anyone suspected of participating or collaborating in the assault. The report is based on interviews with 58 people including victims, their families and eyewitnesses.

In a statement released days after the June attack, the state-affiliated independent rights body had earlier accused security forces of carrying out door-to-door executions of residents.

On Wednesday, the EHRC said it had verified that at least 50 civilians have been killed individually and in mass extrajudicial executions primarily by the region’s security forces between June 14-16, with (victims) accused of harboring OLA fighters and having firearms.

The rights body said the bodies of civilians who were killed by security forces were not given to the victims’ families but were collected and buried by the region’s special forces and regular police.

The EHRC said the region’s police commission told the rights body that the civilians were killed by rebels and that no one had claimed the bodies that were buried by the city administration.

In related news, new satellite images from an American space technology company show a buildup of Eritrean troops and military equipment on the Eritrean side of the border with Tigray. Notably, Eritrea backs Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the group that controls the region. Fighting between the two factions reignited in August after a five-month humanitarian ceasefire broke down.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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