Comment by UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Seif Magango on drone strikes, other violence in Ethiopia’s Amhara region
17 November 2023
Continued human rights violations and abuses, including arbitrary arrests, in Ethiopia’s north-western Amhara region and other parts of the country are deeply concerning. They undermine any ongoing efforts by the Government of Ethiopia on the peace process, including transitional justice.
It is imperative that all parties refrain from unlawful attacks and take all necessary measures to protect civilians. Security operations by the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) and its allies must be conducted in full compliance with Ethiopia’s human rights obligations.
The UN Human Rights Office is troubled by the devastating impact of drone strikes and other violence on the population in the Amhara region as clashes continue between the ENDF and its allies and ethnic Amhara militia known as Fano.
On 6 November, a drone allegedly launched by Government forces struck a primary school in the Wadera district, killing seven people, including three teachers. Reports also suggest Fano militias had occupied some parts of the campus.
Another drone attack hit a bus station in Waber town on 9 November, killing 13 people who were waiting to board a bus. Fano militias were reportedly active in the area and attacking ENDF camps in Debre Markos and other smaller towns in East and West Gojjam zones, when the drone struck. Such attacks amount to arbitrary deprivation of life under international human rights law.
In an earlier incident, six people were killed and 14 others injured when Government forces shelled residential areas in Chuahit town, in Central Gondar Zone on 4 November. Many of the victims were killed in their homes.
In the same context, 21 people, including government and ruling party officials, were killed by Fano militia in two separate incidents in Alem Ber, in South Gondar, and in Jibayt district, in the Awi zone, on 9 and 28 October, respectively.