At least 200 ethnic Amhara people were massacred by rebels in Oromia State of western Ethiopia, the regional government alleged in a statement seen by APA on Tuesday.The Oromia regional government said the rebel Oromo Liberation Front known as ‘OLF Shene’ carried out the killings in Guliso district – Qanqa locality.
Families of the victims who escaped the violence told local media that the gunmen gathered ethnic Amhara residents and indiscriminately shot at them for at least an hour.
An unspecified number of people were also wounded, some of them life-threatening eyewitnesses told the African Press Agency (APA).
The mass killings, which opposition forces have classified as genocide, occurred shortly after members of the national defence force had left the area.
The gunmen reportedly used grenades and machine guns to mow down residents before burning their homes, according to eyewitness accounts.
“They gathered us and said they wanted to hold a discussion with us.” Suddenly, they started shooting at will. Even children and women were not spared, many were shot at close range,” a man speaking on condition of anonymity said.
Bodies have not been released to relatives of the victims who have been pleading to the authorities in the region to help collect their remains in the hope of giving them a normal burial.
Prime Minister Aby Ahmed has expressed shock and outrage over the killings.
“Enemies of Ethiopia are exerting their maximum efforts either to rule the country or ruin it. One of their goals is to bring despair to our people”, the visibly distraught PM added.