News: Amnesty calls for independent investigations into recent massacre in western Oromia

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Some of the survivors of the attack have become IDPs and are sheltered in makeshift camps in Debre Birhan city. Picture: Harun Media

By Addis Standard Staff

Addis Abeba: Amnesty International has called for independent investigations into the killings of civilians on Saturday June 18 in Tole Kebele, Gimbi Woreda of west Wollega zone of Oromia regional state. Describing the massacre as “callous”, the rights group said it “must be independently and effectively investigated.”

Deprose Muchena, Regional Director for Regional Director at Amnesty International Regional Office for Southern Africa, said that “Ethiopian authorities must leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the perpetrators of these killings are brought to justice in fair trials.”

Deprose lamented that “the pervasive culture of impunity in Ethiopia is driving cycles of violence. The authorities must urgently order a credible and independent investigation into all atrocities committed in the country and facilitate access for the International Commission of Human Rights Experts established by the UN Human Rights Council.”

The attack in which hundreds of civilians, mostly Muslim members of the Amhara local community, were killed was described as one of the deadliest massacres of civilians in Ethiopia. The Oromia regional state government blamed the attack on the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), which it refers to as “OLF-Shane“, as has the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

However, the OLA has repeatedly denied responsibility, blaming instead the “Gaachana Sirna”, a militia structure created by the Oromia regional state, and calling for independent investigations. Local opposition parties, including the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), and Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), as well as the UN Human Rights Council have also called for investigations.

Meanwhile, a 13-member national committee was formed under the coordination of the Oromia Regional State Majlis to coordinate with federal and regional governments focusing on three main tasks: to support and rehabilitate the surviving victims and to coordinate the support for those the IDP centers who are in need of urgent assistance; to investigate the deadly attack in detail and report the damages to the public and other stakeholders to ensure that victims received justice. AS




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