Hundreds of Residents Displaced due to Fighting in Western Ethiopia

By Staff Reporter

Eth-defense-OLF-SheneFebruary 1, 2020 ( -- Hundreds of families who were living in Qelem Wellega zone in the Oromia region of western Ethiopia have been displaced fleeing the fighting going on between the Ethiopian defense forces and the rebel wing of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).

The residents were subjected to forced displacement to Gambella and other neighboring towns after many people were killed or injured amid an exchange of gunfire between the two fighting forces, eyewitnesses told on condition of anonymity.

According to the eyewitnesses, the residents were also attacked when the rebel group known as “Shene” hit government institutions by hand grenades and by random firing that follow the attempt to kill or apprehend members of the rebel forces.

The rebel force has been accused of various atrocities, including killing government officials and abducting students of the Dembi Dolo University who were heading back to their families in early December last year.

The residents in Qelem Wellega also accused members of the rebel forces of killing and torturing people even though the force claimed that it was fighting to free the people of western Ethiopia from the suppression of the government in Addis Ababa.

The government is willing to hold talks with the OLF “Shene” armed group to resolve the security problems in west Oromia through third-party mediation, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was quoted as saying recently. However, it unknown whether this will work, given that there several mediations with these rebel groups in the last two years. It must be recalled that the OLF Shene came into the country to pursue peaceful political activities but never laid down arms.

In a recent interview with VOA, Taye Denda, Oromia region’s Public Relations head of the Prosperity Party, however, said the government will never negotiate with the rebel group but will calm down the security problems in the region using all possible means.

In related news, at least 17 people were killed and hundreds of families displaced due to clashes that broke out in Metekel zone of Wonbera district at a place called Kongo in Benishangul Gumuz regional state of North West of Ethiopia.

Benishangul Gumuz Police Commission Crime Prevention Department Head Commander Nega Jara confirmed to Local Media about the clashes and subsequent deaths of nine people in Kongo locality in regional state two weeks ago.

According to eyewitnesses, an undisclosed number of residents of the locality dispersed in different directions as clashes occurred and their whereabouts are still unknown.

The clashes were followed by looting of properties and people are still displaced in neighboring Amhara region

Commander Nega said more than 300 people are displaced due to the clashes whose cause is still under investigation.

An investigation team from the federal attorney general visited Kongo locality, commander Nega Jara said adding 34 people allegedly involved in the clashes have been arrested.

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