News: Oromia regional state blames ‘radical Amharic speaking armed group’, BPLM, OLA for violence in East Wollega Zone

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By Addis Standard Staff 

Addis Abeba, January 3/2022- Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced from several kebeles in Guto Gida woreda of the East Wollega zone following days-long communal violence in November last year. In a recent development, the Oromia regional state broadcaster, Oromia Broadcasting Network (OBN) reported that over 128,000 people were displaced from the woreda by violence instigated by ‘a radical Amhara armed group’, Benishangul Gumuz People’s Liberation Movement (BPLM) and Oromo Liberation Army (OLA). Without identifying the radical Amhara group by name, OBN demonstrated the plight of the residents of the woreda whose houses were burnt down and properties were looted. 

Several residents that the TV station interviewed said that they were driven out of their homes by an armed Amhara group. The residents spoke of looting and destruction of their properties by armed Amhara groups as well as members of the Benishangul Gumuz People’s Liberation Movement. OBN quoted an ethnic Oromo resident of the woreda as saying, “The OLA attacked both the Amhara and Benishangul Gumuz armed groups in return they took out their anger out on us.” The report also featured members of the Amhara community who were displaced from Tuqa Wayu and Diga kebeles. 

Alemayehu Tesfayae, the administrator of the zone on his part put the number of IDPs at 128,200, adding that over 54,000 IDPs were resettled to their homes. Alemayehu also spoke of an operation to rid the area of the Benishangul Gumuz People’s Liberation Movement and ‘Shanee’ (a term used by government officials to refer to OLA) and Amhara radical armed groups. “There is also a radical Amharic speaking armed group who opens fire on Oromia region’s security forces and its residents,” he said, vowing to rid the areas of these armed groups. 

Addis Standard’s earlier report unraveled the mass displacement of hundreds and thousands of people in the East Wollega zone following days-long communal violence broke out in Four kebeles of the woreda in November last year. According to the residents, members of the Amhara community who organized themselves and began to engage in armed combat with the OLA later opened fire on innocent civilians.AS



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