In a continued conflict in West Wollega Zone, over 1,105 civilians are killed this year, including 28 officials who were shot in one day. The zone has also lost properties worth over three billion birr to extended conflict during the just ended fiscal year.
Reports of the devastating impact of the conflict presented to the Caffee Oromia, council of the Oromia regional state, which held its annual meeting over the week. Gammachis Dabala, administrator of West Wollega zone, told the council that both ethnic Amhara and Oromo are killed in his zone.
The regional government has repeatedly launched operation to eradicate the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF-Shene) group, which designated terrorist by the House of Peoples Representative (HPR) and still maintaining West Oromia as its stronghold. During the last month alone, the group has killed hundreds of civilians, according to Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) reports. PM Abiy Ahmed called it “a massacre.”
Most of the zones of Oromia are currently under threats of the insurgent group, according to official reports. Loss of life, property damages, and closure of schools are also tolling across the regional state. In North Shewa alone, some 195 schools remain closed, while over 75,000 students were out of school, according to the report presented during the Caffee meeting.
Taye Dendea, member of the Oromia Prosperity party and state minister of Peace, was at dismay after attending the Caffee meeting. “Last year, only few woredas of Oromia were affected by conflict. Currently, eight zones of Oromia have security threats. We failed the people that elected us just last year. The Oromia Regional Government failed to fulfill its duty to protect the civilians. The damage up on our people is shocking. Externalizing the problem cannot be a solution,” he wrote on Facebook after the meeting was concluded on Friday.
The state minister also harshly criticized the budget allocation of the just started 2022/23 is not enough to fight the insurgents. Nearly 400 million birr is allocated for the regional security budget, which the state minister argues should be more than one billion birr. This accounts for less than one percent of 158.6 billion birr budget approved by the Caffee.
However, the state minister did not mention shortcomings of his ministry why the insurgent group is remaining at large.