Panafrican News Agency

US expresses grave concern about 'horrific' killing of civilians in Ethiopia Oromia region

Washington, DC (PANA) - The United States has expressed grave concern at reported killings of civilians in the Amhara community of the Oromia Region of Ethiopia last weekend.

A press statement on Tuesday by Mr. Ned Price, Spokesperson for the US State Department, called on all Ethiopians to "reject violence, and instead, pursue peaceful dialogue to resolve differences".

The US said "national reconciliation must involve comprehensive, inclusive justice for victims and accountability for those responsible for human rights abuses and violations".

It stressed that continued reports such as these underscored the urgency of ending the ongoing armed conflict in Ethiopia.

"We mourn for the victims and extend our sincerest condolences to survivors and all those who lost loved ones in this horrific act."

Meanwhile, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has  described as "unacceptable" attacks on innocent civilians and destruction of their livelihoods by illegal and irregular forces.

“There is zero tolerance for horrific acts claiming lives recently in both Benishangul and Oromia regions by elements whose main objective is to terrorise communities,” he said in his first comment following reports of scores of civilians beng killed in Oromia region.

Abiy was quoted by the state-owned Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) as saying that "restoring peace and security in affected communities remains a key priority of his government".

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said the killing in Oromia region was related to clashes between government security forces and Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).

The Ethiopian news outlet, Addis Standard, reported on Monday that more than 200 civilians had been killed in the war-torn West Wollega zone of Oromia region.

It said the EHRC had blamed the killing on Saturday on the OLA.

Addis Standard reported that the Oromia regional state government, in a statement on Saturday, blamed the rebels and vowed “federal and regional security forces will continue to crack down” on the armed group, which has been designated as a terrorist group by the Ethiopian Parliament.

However, Odaa Tarbii, OLA International Spokesperson, said in a tweet that “the killings and property destruction that occurred in Tole, Gimbi district, were committed by the Gaachana Sirna militia created by the Oromia state itself".

-0- PANA MA/RA 21June2022