Scores of Amhara Special Force (ASF) personnel have been killed in an ambush carried out on Thursday evening in the Oromia Special Zone in Ethiopia’s Amhara region, multiple media reports indicate.
The ambush which reportedly happened in the Gerbi and Balchi localities of Senbete Administration in the Oromia Special Zone targeted ASF personnel who were traveling in the area on three minibusses.
The ASF personnel were traveling from Dessie city in South Wollo zone of Amhara region on their way to their destinations in Debre-Birhan and Shoa-Robit cities in North-Shoa zone of Amhara region when the ambush occurred roughly half-way through the trip.
Ethiopian army and federal police units stationed in nearby areas reportedly didn’t intervene to come to the aid of the ASF personnel that were attacked.
No entity has claimed responsibility from the attack. Local and federal government officials have also so far remained quiet on the attack.
However, horrific videos have come out on social media showing Afan Oromo language speaking “locals’ ‘ taunting and beating the bodies of slain ASF personnel.
Some media reports indicate the victims were ASF personnel who had been disarmed recently as per the Ethiopia government plan “to reorganize regional special forces”.
Multiple cities in Amhara region have been the sites of demonstrations and strikes in recent days against fears the federal government is trying to disarm Amhara Special Forces.
Protestors regard the Amhara region special forces as guarantors of their lives and security. The protestors don’t trust federal government assurances that the “disarmament” will happen “transparently and fairly”.
The protests have also tapped into widespread underlying anger about persistent reports of ethnically targeted killings and displacements of ethnic Amharas in other parts of Ethiopia.