The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights today expressed “disgust” over the massacre of many civilians in western Ethiopia, urging authorities to conduct an independent investigation immediately.
In a statement, Michelle Bachelet called on the Ethiopian authorities “to conduct an impartial and thorough investigation into the attacks that killed hundreds of people” in western Ethiopia over the weekend.
Her services discussed with eyewitnesses who said that a group of armed people went to the village of Tole on the morning of June 18 – whose population belongs to the majority of Amhara ethnicity. They opened fire, causing hundreds of deaths, mostly women and children, forcing at least 2,000 others to flee their homes.
During the four-hour offensive, gunmen also set fire to several houses.
“I express my disgust at the senseless slaughter of people as well as the forced displacement of the local population during the attack on the village of Tole,” Bachelet said.
“I urge the Ethiopian authorities to ensure that investigations into this attack are carried out quickly and that the victims and their families have a right to truth, justice and reparations, in particular by holding those responsible accountable,” he added.
According to the UN, an unspecified number of people were abducted during the attack but their fate remains unknown.
“I urge the authorities to take all necessary legal measures to ensure that the abducted people regain their freedom,” said Bachelet.
Survivors told AFP on Monday that hundreds of civilians had been killed over the weekend, blaming the massacre on an Oromo rebel group, the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), which denied the allegations and blamed pro-government forces. OLA allied itself last year with the Tigray Liberation Army (TPLF), which has been at war with federal forces in northern Ethiopia since November 2020.