"Ethiopian Government Troops Accused of ... Civilians in Their Homes"

At least 45 civilians were killed in door-to-door raids by Ethiopian troops last month in the northern town of Merawi, according to the country’s human rights watchdog. Witnesses reported that a pregnant woman was among those shot, and she later died in the hospital, according to medics. The Ethiopian government has not commented on the killings. Both the US and EU are calling for an independent investigation.

This incident marks one of the worst episodes of violence in the Amhara region since last August, when powerful local Fano militias rebelled against the government’s plans to disarm them. Previously, Fano had been an ally of Ethiopian troops in fighting their common enemy, the TPLF rebels in the neighboring Tigray region. After a peace deal was agreed in Tigray, the authorities announced that Fano and other militias would be disarmed. Fano opposes disbanding its forces, fearing exposure to attacks from neighboring regions.

Residents of Merawi described several hours of fierce fighting on January 29 between the army and Fano fighters, followed by house-to-house searches by uniformed Ethiopian security officers. Witnesses, speaking anonymously, recounted grim scenes, including soldiers bringing out people from houses and shooting them on the streets. Residents said soldiers accused them of sheltering Fano and providing them with food, suggesting the civilian massacre was revenge for militia attacks on government troops.

Most of those killed were young men, according to witnesses. Medical staff confirmed that a pregnant woman was among those shot. She died after arriving at the hospital. One witness described the aftermath, saying, “When I got out the next day, I saw bodies lying on the roads.”

Details of the incident emerged only recently due to a months-long internet blackout covering most of Amhara. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said on Tuesday that 45 dead had been identified as victims of government troops, but it is believed that the actual number of victims is higher.

Ethiopian MPs voted last week to extend the state of emergency in Amhara by four months. The US and the European Union have expressed concerns about the move, which comes amid ongoing fighting between Fano militias and the army. Although the military has regained control of major cities, fighting continues in rural villages and smaller towns like Merawi.

The violence in Amhara has caused widespread anxiety. A civil servant in Bure, another town with frequent clashes, said government offices have not been fully operational for months due to the conflict. According to the UN, civilian targets, including a school compound and a bus station, were hit by drones in December. Ethiopia’s central government denied targeting civilians but vowed to use all tools to eradicate what it called “extremists.”

Piers Potter


S'il vous plaît entrez votre commentaire!
S'il vous plaît entrez votre nom ici