US Urges Probe into Reported Civilian Deaths in Ethiopia's Amhara Region

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The US government is urging an investigation into reported civilian killings in Ethiopia's Amhara region amid ongoing conflicts and human rights concerns.

The United States has urged for an inquiry into an alleged civilian massacre in Ethiopia's Amhara region.

According to a local rights group, over 80 people were reportedly killed last week amid clashes between soldiers and armed groups. U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, Ervin Massinga, expressed deep concern and called for unrestricted access for independent human rights monitors, along with an impartial investigation to ensure accountability for the perpetrators.

Massinga highlighted the disturbing reports of violations in Merawi and other parts of Ethiopia, which is facing multiple internal conflicts.

In April last year, a rebellion erupted in Amhara when the government initiated the dissolution of regional forces and their integration into the federal army. In August, a militia group known as the Fano conducted a surprise attack, seizing towns across Amhara before withdrawing to rural areas.

Throughout the conflict, rights monitors have documented various human rights abuses by government forces, including allegations of extrajudicial killings. Recently, the Ethiopia Human Rights Council reported receiving information indicating significant human rights violations during the fighting in Merawi on January 29th, with over 80 civilians killed, predominantly men.

The rights group stated that the killings occurred through systematic searches, moving from house to house. However, it refrained from assigning blame for the shootings due to its inability to access the site, and instead called for further investigation.

Previously, the Fano had been aligned with the federal military in the conflict against the Tigray People's Liberation Front in the neighboring Tigray region, albeit with strained relations. Hostilities between the two factions began even before the conclusion of the Tigray conflict in November 2022, which ended with a peace agreement.

Last week, Ethiopia's parliament voted to prolong a state of emergency in the Amhara region as part of efforts to suppress the Fano rebellion.