Consoling Konso EHRC sends independent investigation group

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Photo: Anteneh Aklilu

Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has sent an investigation group to Konso in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) to investigate the situation that occurred in the region regarding killing of civilians and human rights crisis.
Daniel Bekele Commissioner of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission confirmed to Capital that the commission has sent an independent investigation group to the area to investigate the situation, “the team is doing its investigation work and monitoring all situations in the area,” said Daniel.
Starting from the last two week dozens of civilians have been killed with more than thousands of peoples being displaced. The number of people killed in the recent violence in Konso reached 102 whilst 32 people sustained injuries and more than 83,131 people become internally displaced. The dispute is a result of clashes between Segen Woreda, Karat Woreda and Kolme Cluster areas of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region, according to the Konso Zone Government Communication Affairs Bureau.
The head of the bureau said that the cause of the clash was a dispute between the petitioners who wanted to be a special woreda after the proclamation was repealed. The Segen Area People’s Zone of the SNNPRS had underwent a restructuring in November 2018, after nearly four years of protest by the Konso community, resulting in the split of the Konso zone from Segen Area People’s Zone, where Konso wereda, along with Derashe, Amaro, and Burji made up the Segen Area People Zone since 2011.
Escalation of ethnic motivated violence in Ethiopia has resulted to deaths of dozens and thousands of displacement in different parts of the country. As ethnic tensions are rising in the country, the government is struggling to provide its citizens with safety and protection.
Weeks-long attacks carried out by yet undisclosed, heavily armed militiamen in various localities of Metekel zone, Benishangul Gumuz regional state, have also left unknown numbers of civilian causalities and destruction of properties.
Also on Sunday November 1st, armed soldiers in west of Ethiopia opened fire and killed dozens of men, women and children in a cruel attack that was claimed to be executed by the Oromo Liberation Army, a group that has been active in the area for a long period of time. The victims belonged to the Amhara ethnic group.
The total number of deaths remains unknown; however, Amnesty International stated that at least 54 people have been killed. The event took place in Gawa Qanqa village in Guliso District of West Wellega Zone, reportedly a day after government forces withdrew from the region with no explanation.
As part of its investigation into human rights violations, preliminary findings of the commission has stated at least 600 civilians were killed in an ethnically-driven massacre earlier this month in the town of Mai Kadra in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.
Similarly Gunmen killed at least 34 people in a “horrific” bus attack in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of western Ethiopia, the scene of recent deadly violence against civilians, the national human rights agency reported on Sunday November 15.
On November 4, Ethiopia launched an operation against Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), claiming the group has attacked troops stationed in the northernmost region of Tigray.
As the commission described, EHRC is monitoring closely and is in consultation with the relevant authorities regarding the risk of multidimensional human rights violations arising from the ongoing war in Tigray Region.
In a statement, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) called for humanitarian access to the region, as well as telecommunications to be restored and the resumption of health, water, electricity and other services.
Urging the government to facilitate efforts to reconnect separated families and relocate and return displaced people and refugees, the body called on officials to allow access to an “independent and transparent” investigation into possible “grave human rights violations.”
After three weeks of intense fighting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared that the third and final phase of the operation was largely over.