Over 50 Civilians Killed in A Wake of A Failed Government-Rebel Dialogue

ETHIOPIA –More than 50 civilians were killed in attacks in Ethiopia last month, a human rights body has said, barely two weeks after talks between the government and a rebel group from the country’s most populous region ended without agreement.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission — an independent, state-affiliated body — said that fighters from the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), killed 17 people and burnt down villages in Benishangul-Gumuz, which borders the Oromia region.

Classified as a terrorist organization by Addis Ababa, the OLA has been fighting the government since 2018 after splitting from the Oromo Liberation Front when it renounced armed struggle. The Human Rights Commission said another 30 people were killed in Oromia’s Arsi zone in a string of attacks by unidentified assailants, and nine members of the Lutheran church.

All the attacks took place between November 23 and 29, after talks in Tanzania to put an end to five years of insurrection ended on November 21, with each side blaming the other for the breakdown.