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Ethiopian federal troops accused of killing civilians

Kalkidan Yibeltal
Thursday September 7, 2023

An Ethiopian opposition group has accused government forces of killing dozens of civilians in the restive Amhara region where fighting between local militias and the army continues to be reported.

In a statement, the Enat party said 29 civilians, including children and the elderly, were killed near their homes by government troops in a small town called Majete.

At least 20 civilians were killed in drone strikes in two other areas in the region, the party added.

The BBC has not been able to independently confirm the claims and there hasn’t been any response to the accusations from the government.

Violence broke out in Amhara after months of simmering tensions over controversial decisions to disband a paramilitary regional force - a move opponents say would leave the region vulnerable to attacks.

In early August local militias entered most of the region’s major cities and briefly controlled an airport.

Urban combat claimed several lives and a large number of prisoners were freed.

Relative normalcy appears to have returned to the cities after government troops pushed the militias out.

Last week, the army’s head Field Martial Berhanu Jula declared armed groups operating in the region were no longer a threat. However, fighting continues to be reported this week in or around several small towns and villages.

An ongoing internet shutdown has made it difficult to get information about the exact magnitude of the fighting.