Ethiopia: Suspected Fano Militants Kill Dozens in Oromia

Dozens Killed in Ethiopia's Oromia Attacks (News Central TV)

Following attacks in which at least 50 people were killed in a region of Oromia, residents in western Ethiopia claim to be living in fear.

Locals accuse members of the Fano militia group of being responsible for the earlier in the week violence and claim security forces had just recently left the region. During the attacks, homes were set on fire and property was looted.

Western Ethiopia has continued to see frequent violent attacks despite the harsh civil war in the north of the nation just resuming after a five-month truce. Violence in other areas of the nation has likewise persisted.

In June 2022, more than 100 civilians were killed by militants of the Oromo Liberation Army, OLA, in what was described as one of the fiercest attacks in the history of Ethiopia’s Oromia region.

The Oromo conflict is a protracted conflict between the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Ethiopian government.

The Oromo Liberation Front formed to fight the Ethiopian Empire to liberate the Oromo people and establish an independent state of Oromia. The conflict began in 1973, when Oromo nationalists established the OLF and its armed wing, the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).

In April 2018 the OLF made peace with the Ethiopian government along with several other groups including the Ogaden National Liberation Front and Ginbot 7. The OLF leadership agreed to disarm its soldiers within 15 days of their arrival in Addis Ababa. According to then-OLF leader Ibsa Negewo, the OLF claimed to have 1,305 soldiers in Eritrea and 4,000 in West and South Oromia.

The men stationed in Eritrea agreed to disarm but most of those in Oromia refused to do so despite their leaders’ wishes. One leader, Kumsa Diriba, also known as “Jaal Maro”, failed to reach a deal with the government and after a falling out with the OLF, he split away from the OLF and formed OLF–Shene, also known as the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).

Security forces promised to crush the group within two weeks but haven’t been able to do so even after years of fighting. During the following two years, OLA killed 700 civilians in the East and West Guji Zones according to Haaji Umar Nagessa, a “veteran freedom fighter and tribal leader”, who was assassinated by the OLA on April 4, 2020.

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