A clash between regional security forces and residents left two people dead, including a policeman in Ataya village, Derashe Special Woreda of Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNP), a resident of the special woreda informed the press.
The two civilians were killed in an exchange of fire between the regional police and residents of the village after 12:30 PM local time on Monday.
“That evening, the police were shooting in our village saying they had found a wanted [person] suspected of crimes. In this situation, shots were even fired at the police. Thus, one person from the police and another person [who was the] alleged suspect were killed,” he said.
Following the shooting, the police reportedly broke into residents’ homes causing panic and forcing thousands of residents to flee to neighbouring villages.
“Many people are fleeing to neighbouring villages and forests for fear of revenge from the police after their member has been killed. Only women and children remained there. Even yesterday [Wednesday], I don’t know who did it but the residents’ house was burning.”
Alemayehu Mamo, commissioner of the SNNP Regional Police Commission, confirmed that a police officer and a wanted person were killed in the violence caused by an attempt to get criminal suspects released.
“Regional policemen deployed in Ataya village on a mission of arresting criminally wanted persons were about to transfer three arrested persons to the regional center when the organised people launched a sudden attack on the policemen. A police member and one criminally wanted person were killed in the exchange of fires. While one of the arrested persons escaped, one was arrested and brought to court,” the police commissioner said.
In May 2022, the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNP) Police Commission announced that it has arrested over 300 individuals suspected of partaking in the conflicts within Derashe special woreda. Alemayehu Mamo, Commissioner of the SNNPR Police Commission, told state media at the time that ‘armed anti-peace forces’ had wreaked havoc of significant humanitarian, and socio-economic impact, a month prior.
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