Ethiopia’s ethnic attacks leave more than 200 dead, witnesses say

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An ethnic attack in Ethiopia has left more than 200 people dead in the country’s Oromia region, according to witnesses.

Witnesses blame a rebel group, the Oromo Liberation Army, for the attack, but the group denies it.

One witness, Abdul-Seid Tahir, said he counted a total of 230 corpses after the attack, saying this is the “deadliest civilian attack we have seen in our lives.”

“I have counted 230 corpses. I am afraid this is the most deadly attack on civilians we have seen in our lives,” Tahir said. “We are burying them in mass graves and we are still collecting corpses. Federal armies have now arrived, but we fear the attacks may continue if they leave.”

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A man is the silhouette of a patchwork of harvested teff cornfields near the crash site of an Ethiopian airliner, which was operated by a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on March 16, 2019 in the village of Hama Quntushele near Bishoftu in the Oromia region.

A man is the silhouette of a patchwork of harvested teff cornfields near the crash site of an Ethiopian airliner, which was operated by a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on March 16, 2019 in the village of Hama Quntushele near Bishoftu in the Oromia region.
(Tony Karumba / AFP via Getty Images)

Witnesses say the attack was mainly committed against people who are ethnic amhara

Another witness, who asked to be identified by his first name, Shambel, said the local Amhara community was desperately trying to be relocated, “before another round of mass killings takes place.”

Shambel said ethnic Amhara in the area are being “killed like chickens.”

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Witnesses say 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 withdrew from their camp in Gimbi following our recent offensive,” Army spokesman Odaa Tarbii said. “They fled to an area called Tole, where they attacked the local population and destroyed their property in retaliation for their alleged support for the OLA. Our warriors had not even reached the area when the attacks took place.”

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The country is currently experiencing widespread ethnic tensions over political tensions and historical complaints. The Amhara population is considered the second largest ethnic group in the country and has often been targeted in attacks in regions such as Oromia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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