Ethiopia: Inside the Oromia massacre – ‘There were corpses everywhere’

By Fred Harter
Posted on Thursday, 23 June 2022 20:47, updated on Friday, 24 June 2022 09:49

In this photo taken on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, Ethiopian soldiers try to stop protesters in Bishoftu, Ethiopia. Violence flared again Monday in Ethiopia's restive Oromia region, where dozens of people were killed a day earlier in a stampede when police tried to disrupt an anti-government protest amid a massive religious festival. (AP Photo)

Oromo-speaking gunmen massacred hundreds of unarmed civilians in Ethiopia's Oromia region on 18 June - part of a broader cycle of ethnic-based killings in the country’s western periphery, whose victims have been Oromo, Amhara, Gumuz and Sinaasha.

Ahmed was heading to a local market when he heard gunfire ring out from his village in the Gimbi district of Ethiopia’s Oromia region on Saturday, 18 June. After the shooting died down, he says, he returned to find dozens of bodies scattered among the burnt-out houses.

“There were corpses everywhere,” he told The Africa Report. “I saw 60 people in one grave. In another, I helped to bury 12 people. We only finished burying all the bodies on Tuesday.”

Another witness, Mohammed, said that armed men had passed through his village of Tole several days before the attack, threatening ethnic Amhara, Ethiopia’s second largest group, who are a minority in the Oromia region. Many Amhara arrived in the area in the 1980s and 1990s under resettlement programmes.