– The conflict between the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and Tigrayan forces, loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), spread to the Amhara and Afar regions, reaching the Oromo Special Zone of the region in early November Amhara. Since then, Addis Standard has received several reports of civilian casualties and displacements in the ongoing war between government forces and troops loyal to the designated terrorist groups TPLF and OLA.
Although The Attempts by Addis Standard to get in touch were challenging due to a communication outage. Some residents managed to travel to areas with coverage and share their testimonies. One of the main complaints from Witnesses was the destruction of their livelihoods. Temam Hassen (name changed for security reasons) is a resident of the city of Bati opposite Addis Standard : “There are evictions, shelling, looting and serious human rights violations.” Temam also spoke of air strikes in which 37 civilians were killed and 42 others injured. He said, “A recent air strike hit areas far from the front line. It was not in an active combat zone and claimed the lives of civilians. “
Talking about the intensity of the fighting and the involvement of many armed wings, Temam said,” There are many fighters involved, consisting of armed groups, militias, special forces and the ENDF. Looting is also widespread. ”He insisted on the need for an independent investigation to find out who was responsible for the killings and looting. “We want human rights organizations to investigate who is responsible for civilian deaths and looting.”
Hamdia Seid, a resident of Dawa Chaffa Woreda, confirmed Temam’s testimony and stated that the ENDF air strikes were indiscriminate. The mother of three said, “We heard someone shout ‘kill them all’ in Amharic. They shot and killed an elderly man selling khat on the side of the road. We don’t know which armed group did this. ”She continued,“ When the air strike took place, women and girls gathered water from a public tap, nine of them were killed. I also saw people’s houses burn. ”Hamdia said the fighting has moved away from her area, but people are afraid to go outside and go about their daily activities. “The fighting has now moved away from our area. We only hear heavy artillery. We’re afraid to go outside if an air strike hits. ”
Umer Ahmed (name changed for security reasons) is a resident of Kemise who fled the fighting. He said: “The fighting has been going on for over two weeks and the situation in the region is becoming dangerous for the civilian population,” added: “The situation around Kemise is catastrophic. Since the fighting started weeks ago, streets have been blocked and basic services such as electricity, telecommunications, health services and banks disrupted. ”He continued,“ People are fleeing their homes because of murders, looting and women raping. ”Umer, like Temam and Hamida, stated that the perpetrators are unknown and the number of victims has yet to be verified. He said: “I know that many civilians were killed” and pleaded: “We ask all parties to the conflict to refrain from indiscriminate attacks.” a statement by the Federal Emergency Command. It also listed the ENDF, Afar Special Forces, local militias and the air force who were “busy with the enemy” according to the statement.
The head of the federal government The government communications service Legesse Tulu (PhD) denied targeting civilians: “The rumors about the airstrike on civilians are false.” He argued, “The federal government has no reason to attack civilians. The federal government is targeting the terrorists who operate in the mountains. ”
The residents of the zone are also confronted with humanitarian needs resulting from the loss of communication and the disruption of basic services. The head of the Federal Government’s communications office also confirmed the communications failure in Dawa Chaffa, Artuma Farsi Woredas and the surrounding cities to Addis Standard . Hamdia, who is a merchant, detailed in her testimony how market activity is halted due to the fighting and how this affects her livelihood. For his part, Temam said, “We need the support of international and local humanitarian organizations.” He confirmed to Addis Standard the disruption of communications and basic services in areas where there is active fighting and in areas that are not under the control of the government. Eyasu called on the international humanitarian organizations to assist the people in the affected area, adding: “The government is making it easier for international humanitarian organizations to assist the people in the areas that are not under state control.”
According to Eyasu, aid in these areas has yet to be achieved. He said, “The conflict-affected areas in the region need food and medicine. I call on the international humanitarian organization to help people in need. ”For its part, the German government said:“ In areas where there is active fighting and controlled by rebel forces, the government cannot do much. ”