At least eight individuals were reported killed in the Horo Guduru Zone of the Wollega area of Ethiopia’s Oromia region. The incident occurred at around 1:30 am on Monday in Bero Kebele, Kombolcha District.
The deceased were serving in the Mulu Wongel Protestant Church in Bero Kebele and were allegedly killed while harvesting maize on a farm close to the church.
Additional individuals, an unspecified number, were also wounded during the drone attack and property belonging to the church was burned down.
Wazema said that its sources indicated that drones had been patrolling various localities in the Kombolcha district for a week before the strike.
In a recent interview marking the 88th anniversary of the Ethiopian Air Force, Defense Chief of Staff Field Marshal Berhanu Jula confirmed the use of drone strikes. He said, “Drones were bought to be used. We didn’t acquire them solely for the sake of having them.”
The Defense Chief also said that the armed forces will continue using drones.
The Oromo Liberation Army, a radical ethnic nationalist group, operates extensively in the area. Peace negotiations between the group and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Tanzania in November failed, with both sides exchanging accusations regarding the talks’ breakdown. The group has been in conflict with Abiy Ahmed’s administration for the past five years, having previously operated from Eritrea before gaining entry into Ethiopia in 2018. The group was also linked to the massacre of tens of thousands of ethnic Amhara civilians in the area over the past five years.
Numerous drone strikes have been reported in Ethiopia’s Amhara region in relation to the conflict between Fano Forces and the defense force. While some estimates suggest over one hundred attacks in the Amhara region, the Defense Chief denies such claims. During an interview with state media, he said “I don’t believe we’ve used drones that much.” Many of the victims from the drone attacks in the Amhara region are said to be civilians. Human Rights Organizations, including the United Nations Human Rights Agency, in the country and abroad have confirmed the death of civilians in connection with drone strikes in the Amhara region.
The Ethiopian government has not issued any statements regarding the drone strikes in the Wollega area.
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