Organisations from the Oromia area of Ethiopia have accused the army of carrying out airstrikes there that they claim resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians.
Requests for reaction on the allegations made by the opposition Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and proscribed armed splinter organization, the Oromo Liberation Army, were not answered by government or army spokespersons on Thursday (OLA).
A citizen in the western Ethiopian region of Oromia, which is near the nation’s capital Addis Ababa, told newsmen that he saw an airstrike on Sunday that claimed the lives of roughly 60 people, including his uncle.
Disputes concerning the federal government’s marginalisation and neglect of the Oromia region, which is home to Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group with over 40 million members, have long been the source of conflict.
The conflict there was distinct from the two-year conflict between the national government and local troops in Tigray’s northern area, which is the topic of peace negotiations being mediated by the African Union and beginning on Tuesday in South Africa.
The OLF and the OLA specified places in Oromiya where they said a series of lethal air strikes had taken place between Thursday and Tuesday in statements supplied to Reuters by text message, email, and posts on Twitter.
“The combined civilian death toll stands in the hundreds,” said a statement that purported to come from the “OLF-OLA High Command”. it said schools and other civilian targets had been hit.