A 64 year old man lost 22 children and grandchildren during the killings of over 400 Amhara residents in Tole Kebele of Oromia region on June 18, Amnesty International said.
Hussein, a relative of the victims in the attack, told Amnesty he ran for his life when the shooting started, as the women and children stayed home assuming they would be spared.
“They killed 42 people in one place. There was only one adult male among them, the rest were women and children. We found their bodies piled up and among those dead were newborns,” said Hussien, whose last name is withheld to protect his identity.
Among the people killed, 22 were his children and grandchildren; according to an interview he gave Amnesty International.
“One of my daughters died with her five children, the other one with four, one with five, another with two children and one newlywed daughter and a boy,” said Hussien.
The government blamed the Oromia Liberation Army (OLA) Shene for the summary killings, pledging to take a military action. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission also blamed the same body for the attacks. Survivors and victims’ of family members also told Amnesty that the killings were committed by the same group.
Amnesty urged authorities to quickly launch an independent investigation to hold those involved in the killings accountable to their action.
“These horrific killings in Tole, allegedly at the hands of the Oromo Liberation Army, reveal its perpetrators’ utter disregard for human life,” Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa said. “Ethiopian authorities must leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the perpetrators of these killings are brought to justice in fair trials.”
OLA combatants began attacking civilians in Tole Woreda in the morning at around 9 am, according to witnesses that spoke to Amnesty. The attack began soon after adults left home to work on their farms, with most of the victims being women and children.