Gunmen carried out attacks in western Ethiopia. An official said the attack had killed 32 people and burned more than 20 houses.
An administrator, Elias Umeta said the brutal murder happened on Sunday by an armed group called OLF Shane in the West Wollega Zone in the Oromiya region. 32 people were killed and nearly 750 others were evacuated.
“We buried 32 of them today. Around 700 to 750 people were also evacuated from the area,” Elias Umeta said.
OLF Shane broke away from the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), an opposition party that spent years in exile but was allowed to return to Ethiopia after Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, took office in 2018. Since then sporadic violence has occurred in Ethiopia.
OLF Shane said he was fighting for the rights of the Oromos, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia. However, Elias said he did not know the motive for the murder.
“They were executed after being told by the armed groups that they wanted to meet them,” he said.
The attack has gotten criticism from the Ethiopian Commission on Human Rights.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission said the attack targeted people from the Amharic ethnic group. The killing acts of the armed group violate human rights. He even added that the death toll could be higher.
“They were dragged from their houses and taken to school, where they were killed,” Commission Chief Commissioner, Daniel Bekele, said in a statement.
“These brutal killings of civilians are baseless and violate basic humanitarian principles,” he continued.
The killings add to the recent incidents of violence that have taken place in various parts of Ethiopia. Clashes last week were between the two Ethiopian states – Somalia and Afar, which have long disputed their borders. At least 27 people killed in the incident.
In mid-October, at least 12 people died in the Metakal zone of the Benishangul-Gumuz region. The incident followed two attacks in the same zone in September during which 45 people were killed.