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News: At least 30 people killed in an attacks blamed on “Fano militants” in East Wollega zone of Oromia region: local official

Addis Ababa – Fikadu Hunde, administrator of Kiramu district, told the VOA that at least 30 people were killed in the attack in four villages in Kiremu district, in East Wollega zone of Oromia regional state by armed Fano militants. the attacks took place last week, on 15 October in which more than 50 houses were also burned, according to the local official.

Addis Standard contacted the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) for further details about the attack. The Commission said that although it had received information on the matter it was difficulty in verifying and obtaining accurate information due to the lack of network in the area.

Fikadu referred to the perpetrators as,“Fanno militants” who were organized in the name of Amhara community in the area; some of whom lived there and some of whom came from Horro Guduru zone, he said, adding that the victims include an elderly as old as 75 years old. The perpetrators used “illegal and unauthorized weapons” in the attacks in four villages: “Gudina Jiregna, Cheffe Soruma, Burka Soruma and Nachino villages in Kiramu district. A total of 30 people, 29 men and one woman, were killed in the attack,” the local official said.

A resident of the district who want to give information under the condition of anonymity also told the media that he and seven of his family members had fled Gudina Jiregna village due to the attack. “Early in the morning, without anyone knowing, they went around the village and started shooting. There was no way out and many people were killed there, and some people fled. There are many injured,” he said.

The resident said the attackers were “armed Amhara militants who came from the Amhara region, where they get training” and further described the attackers as those “who grew up among us and speak our language. They know the village, they went there [to the Amhara Region] and get trained and came back fully armed.”

“Everyone from Gudina Jiregna village is completely displaced,” the witness said, adding that the reason for the attack was to “displace these people from their land and take the land” and “destroy Shane” (a reference to the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) which know by the government as OLF/Shane). “But it is not Shane that they are killing but the civilians,” the resident added.

The witness also claimed that government security forces were in the town but refused to take immediate action. “The government security forces were in town. When we asked why they kept quiet, the answer was ‘we were told to stay in the city and wait for Shane not to enter, but we have not been ordered about any other thing.”

Dr. Diriba Abdenna, a resident of Nekemte city, the capital of East Wollega zone, also told the VOA that he lost his father in the attack. “I lost my 85-year-old father, Abdenna Duressa. Those who could have fled, but my father could not escape. He was shot dead while sitting at the door. Six people from the village, including him, were killed. They killed many elders who could not escape. All those who died in that village are like family to us. We are now sitting in Nakemte together in mourning. Our people died while the government security forces were in the city.”

The militants also burned more than 50 houses and looted cattle, said district administrator Fikadu Hunde, adding that the government security forces were moved elsewhere for work during the attack, which made it hard for them to counter the attack.

“Half of the security force went to Horro Guduru zone and half were in this district so that the enemy would not capture the area. But there are also times when information is missing. However, as soon as the attack took place, the militia in the district went and stopped the shooting and calmed the situation.”

Residents and officials in the region are often accuse Fano militants for attacks at various times in Horro Guduru and East Wollega zones of Oromia region.

On 06 September, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) released a report stating that more than 60 people from the Oromo community were killed in two days of attacks in by armed men from the area and those from neighboring districts of the Amhara Regional State. Although the commission’s report did not mention militants known as Fano, it confirmed that the killing of civilians on August 30-31 in Amuru district, Horro Guduru Wollega zone, but confirmed the earlier news by Addis Standard about the attack, which residents blamed were by “Fano militants”.

“The attack came after government security forces deployed in the area were relocated to other area,” EHRC report said, adding that more than 60 people were killed, more than 70 injured and 20,000 were displaced; furthermore properties and cattle of the residents were looted during the two-day attack on 30 and 31 August. AS

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