Ethiopia: 43 killed, including family members, in two regions – CNN

Tibetan separatists in Ethiopia brutally executed 33 civilians in the country’s Amhara region and 24 more in the neighboring region of Oromia during April, HRW reports. In addition, 130 civilians have been killed by…

Ethiopia: 43 killed, including family members, in two regions - CNN

Tibetan separatists in Ethiopia brutally executed 33 civilians in the country’s Amhara region and 24 more in the neighboring region of Oromia during April, HRW reports. In addition, 130 civilians have been killed by government security forces over the last seven months, according to the Eritrean network Ginbot 7, among them 39 family members and friends of protesters during the country’s two-month long protests in 2016 and 2017.

“This shocking new report from Human Rights Watch compels the Ethiopian government to prove its claims that the violence in the two regions is a limited and isolated case. The security forces should immediately stop killing protesters and tear gas their homes,” said Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch.

The report cites two commanders from the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), one of the most powerful political forces in Ethiopia and part of a coalition that ruled the country under former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi until he died in 2012.

In the western region of Amhara during April, at least 32 people were summarily executed by FULANI paramilitary fighters. One ethnic-Borana, the other ethnic-Oromo, suspect that TPLF forces were responsible for all 36 killings. They believed that after civilians tried to flee into the bush, FULANI stormed the village and executed them on the spot.

In the central Oromia region, another group of six ethnic-Borana suspects told Human Rights Watch that an TPLF commander named Kato ordered them and other fighters to execute 21 ethnic-Borana people in front of their homes. In a video showing the killings in the aftermath, TPLF fighters are seen firing at the victims point blank, blowing away the victims’ heads.

It is one of the worst massacres by government security forces in Africa, HRW said.

“This ruthless attack on the unarmed ethnic-Borana population appears to have been one of the deadliest instances of extrajudicial killings by state security forces in Ethiopia since this year,” said Roth.

The report further highlights how the government has intimidated civilians into silence, blocking broadcasts from independent broadcasters, blocking UN websites, and preventing key opposition activists from leaving the country.

“The government attacks peaceful protesters but protects the forces that carried out these horrific attacks,” said Roth. “It has created an Orwellian environment in which the government silences its critics and their organizations. We will not let them keep moving in this direction.”

Following the report’s release, Human Rights Watch called on the Ethiopian government to investigate these reports, and allow the United Nations and other independent monitoring groups into the conflict-torn regions, particularly at the request of Ethiopia’s newly elected Oromo Vice President and opposition leader Mulatu Teshome Wirtu.

On November 7, Human Rights Watch will convene a special briefing in Geneva on the situation in Ethiopia, marking the first of its kind to be held in that seat of international government.

Read the full HRW report here.

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