An ethnic attack in Ethiopia has left over 200 people dead in the country’s Oromia region, according to witnesses.
The witnesses are blaming a rebel group, Oromo Liberation Army, for the attack, but the group denies it.
One witness, Abdul-Seid Tahir, said that he counted a total of 230 bodies after the attack, and says this is the “deadliest attack against civilians we have seen in our lifetime.”
“I have counted 230 bodies. I am afraid this is the deadliest attack against civilians we have seen in our lifetime,” Tahir said. “We are burying them in mass graves, and we are still collecting bodies. Federal army units have now arrived, but we fear that the attacks could continue if they leave.”
Witnesses say the attack was mostly committed against people who are ethnic Amhara
Another witness who asked to be identified by his first name, Shambel, said that the local Amhara community is desperately trying to be relocated “before another round of mass killings happen.”
Shambel said that ethnic Amhara in the area are being “killed like chickens.”
The witnesses say that the Oromo Liberation Army is responsible for carrying out the attack, but the group denies it.
“The attack you are referring to was committed by the regime’s military and local militia as they retreated from their camp in Gimbi following our recent offensive,” said the army’s spokesperson Odaa Tarbii. “They escaped to an area called Tole, where they attacked the local population and destroyed their property as retaliation for their perceived support for the OLA. Our fighters had not even reached that area when the attacks took place.”
The country is currently experiencing widespread ethnic tensions over political tensions and historical grievances. The Amhara people are considered the second-largest ethnic group in the country and have frequently been targeted in attacks in regions like Oromia.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.