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Four civilians killed in deadly attack in Darra district of North Shawa Zone; residents and officials blame ‘Fano militants’

An attack in the Dara district of the Oromia region, situated within the North Shewa Zone, resulted in the deaths of four civilians on 15 June, 2024 (Photo: Social Media)

Addis Abeba – At least four civilians were killed in an attack last week in the Darra district of the North Shawa zone, within the Oromia region. Residents and local officials attributed the attack to “Fano militants.”

According to residents who spoke to Addis Standard under the condition of anonymity, the attack took place on 15 June, 2024, in the villages of Jirruu Dadaa and Warree Gabroo, both located in the Darra district.

One resident of Jirruu Dadaa village, who requested anonymity, identified the victims as Tadesse Jobir (45 years old), Tesfaye Damise (48 years old), Tame Abera (32 years old), and Tashome Kibret (60 years old).

The same source further reported the closure of government offices in Cheka town, located within the Darra district, as well as surrounding villages, citing security concerns.

“Health, education, and social institutions in the area are also closed,” the resident added.

Taye Getahun, the mayor of Cheka town, provided a detailed account of the attack to Addis Standard.

According to him, a conflict arose between the “extremist Fano militia” and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), which he termed “Shane,” during which the latter gained control of Cheka town from Fano.

The mayor further elaborated that the Fano militia subsequently resorted to targeting civilians in retaliation.

“Shane recently attacked a market in the town, resulting in the deaths of three people and injuries to several others,” Taye recounted. “The security situation is particularly dire in the villages, necessitating the redeployment of government forces to address the area’s security challenges and restore normalcy.”

However, he noted that the area’s vast and predominantly desert landscape poses significant challenges for security management in the villages.

“Attempting to control Shane’s movements in one direction often leads to Fano launching attacks from another direction,” Taye stated. “This dynamic complicates efforts to restore security and stability in the Darra district.”

This is not the first instance of groups affiliated with the non-state militia, Fano, being accused of attacks in the Darra district.

In December 2023, Addis Standard reported that the community of the Dara district endured a sustained two-day attack commencing on 24 December, 2023.

Local residents’ accounts attributed the violence, which resulted in the deaths of eighteen individuals and injuries to six others, to “Fano militants.”

The same armed group is also allegedly implicated in an attack that occurred on 05 June, 2024, in Arro Village, Kiramu district of the East Wollega zone. This incident resulted in the deaths of three civilians.

In an interview with Addis Standard, Habtamu Ayana, the brother of one of the victims, Bersissa Ayana, a 35-year-old preparatory teacher known for teaching drawing and design at Kiramu Preparatory Schoo, alleged that “Fano” militants carried out the attack at approximately 9:00 a.m.

Describing the events, Habtamu recounted that his brother and two other individuals were traveling in Arro Village when they were stopped by militants. “The attackers forced my brother to transfer 31,400 birr to their account via mobile banking before killing him and the two others.”

Habtamu identified the remaining two victims as Gizachew Feyisa, a 45-year-old government employee from the Kiramu district, and Jaldu Galata, a 26-year-old motorbike driver.

The alleged attack in Arro Village of the Kiramu district occurred two days after another incident in Ayisho Kushaye village, also in the same district, which resulted in the deaths of a mother and her three children.

In an interview with Addis Standard, Mango Gonfaa, a resident of Ayisho Kushaye village, disclosed that his wife and three of his children, Abdi, Bacho, Jitu, and Bili, were attacked by what he described as “the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA)” on 03 June, 2024, around 9 p.m.

Mango revealed that his wife and two of his children were fatally shot, while one of his children, Bili, survived the attack.

“Currently, Bili is receiving treatment at Nekemte Hospital,” the grieving father told Addis Standard. AS

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