Massacre in Merawi: Dead bodies lying on the streets (Image from recorded video)

Ethiopian government troops carried out execution-style killings in Merawi, Amhara region, resulting in dozens of civilian deaths.

This incident marks one of the deadliest events in Amhara since the rebellion by Fano, an armed Amhara group, which erupted last year over a disputed plan to disarm regional forces.

The Fano, initially an ally in the civil war against the TPLF, later became perceived as a threat by the government. The atrocities in Merawi began on January 29 after clashes between federal forces and the Fano militia. Witnesses reported that after the Fano militia retreated, government soldiers went door-to-door, targeting civilians and accusing them of being fighters.

Residents recounted scenes of horror, with constant gunfire and artillery hitting civilian areas. The aftermath revealed at least 34 bodies in the streets, some with gunshot wounds to the head. Witnesses described execution-style killings, with victims having their faces blown out. The Ethiopian Human Rights Council reported a death toll of over 80 civilians and called for further investigations, urging the government to hold the responsible parties legally accountable.

Ethiopia's parliament has extended a state of emergency, citing mounting civilian casualties, while the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC)  expressed grave concerns about abuses in Amhara region. The U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia, Ervin Massinga, has also expressed deep concern and called for “unfettered access by independent human rights monitors as well as an impartial investigation to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.”

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government's plan to integrate regional forces into the federal military sparked clashes in 2023. Despite Fano's objections to being incorporated with the government army due to the fact the government was not able to stop the killings targeted on the Amhara citizens, the government intends to hold a peace and security summit.

Since the Prime Minister Abiy came to power, Amhara ethnic targeted killings have intensified. The ongoing civil war in Amhara hampers humanitarian efforts and affects the delivery of food aid, where starvation deaths have been reported.

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