UN reveals death toll from clashes in Ethiopia
At least 183 people have been killed in clashes between the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) and local Fano militia fighters in the Amhara region since July, the United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) said on Tuesday.
The UN said more than 1,000 people, including three journalists, had been arrested nationwide after the government banned public gatherings under a state of emergency law introduced in response to the violence earlier this month.
“Detainees have reportedly been placed in improvised detention centers that lack basic amenities,” the organization said in a statement, expressing concern about the “deteriorating human rights situation in some regions of Ethiopia.”
The OHCHR also claimed to have received reports that at least 250 ethnic Tigrayans had been detained in the disputed area of Western Tigray, where the federal government vowed last week to dissolve all illegal administrations.
Fighting flared in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara region earlier in August after months of tensions arising from a government order for regional security forces to be integrated into the federal police or army.
Last Friday, the president of the Amhara state, Yilkal Kefale, resigned from his role, explaining his decision by reference to challenges, including the region’s “complex” political struggle and a lack of an adequate conflict-resolution strategy.
He said the unrest had worsened and that peace efforts to address the escalating security crisis had failed.
There have previously been reports of authorities carrying out mass arrests in the Amhara region and even the capital, Addis Ababa. On August 14, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission reported widespread detention of ethnic Amharas, urging federal authorities to end the arrests.
Federal forces are said to have retaken major towns and cities in the region that were previously held by Fano fighters, but the fighting continues.
The UN urged the conflicting parties to “stop killings, other violations and abuses,” insisting that “grievances must be addressed through dialogue and political process.”