Targeted attacks in Ataye town and surrounding areas in Ethiopia’s Amhara Regional State have forced thousands of residents to flee into the jungle.
In what seemed pre-arranged attacks, at least 20 civilians were killed in Ataye, a town sitting 268 kilometres North of the capital Addis Ababa.
Amhara Region Peace and Security Head Sisay Damte said the attacks are backed by heavy weapons and spreading in surrounding areas.
Sisay blamed the rebel Oromo Liberation Front – OLF Shene for the attack. Residents of the town said members of the rebel force have been engaged in the looting of resources and robbing banks.
Ataye, Efrata Gidim, Majete, Jille Timuga are among the target areas of the latest radical Oromo military attacks that transpired in the past two days.
The OLF, previously designated as a terrorist organization by the Ethiopian parliament, returned to Ethiopia from its base in neighboring Eritrea in September 2018 following a peace deal with the government.
But it has since been accused of deadly attacks and bank robberies among other crimes especially in the western and southern parts of the country.
Eyewitnesses said the attacks have been committed by armed men whom they are described as “organized, well armed and trained forces.”