More than 60 people were killed in late August in a new massacre in Ethiopia's Oromia region, the country's largest and most populous, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said Tuesday.
The EHRC, a statutorily independent public institution, said in a statement that it had "learned from residents and officials that in two days of attacks, more than 60 people were killed, more than 70 injured and homes and livestock looted.
More than 20,000 people were displaced by the attacks, which targeted several communities in the Amuru woreda (district) in the Horo-Gudru administrative area between August 29 and 31, "after the security forces deployed in the area left for another location," EHRC reported.
The EHRC said the attacks were carried out by armed men from localities in the district or neighboring Amhara region after three members of the Amhara community were killed by the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) in an operation by the Oromo rebel group active in the area.
Two residents of an affected locality accused Amhara militiamen of committing the killings and claimed that around 100 people were killed.
The regional authorities had blamed the OLA, an organization classified as a terrorist, which they have been fighting with federal forces since 2018.
Conflicts, including territorial ones, have pitted Oromo and Amhara - the two largest ethnolinguistic groups in Ethiopia, which has more than 80 - in several border areas between the two regions of Oromia and Amhara.
In August 2021, the EHRC claimed that more than 210 people had been killed in a week in a series of "ethnically motivated" attacks in the Gida-Kirimu area, a few dozen kilometers from the area affected in late August.
On June 18 and July 4, several hundred villagers - mostly Amhara - were killed in massacres by gunmen in two remote areas of western Oromia.
The federal government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed blamed the OLA, which firmly denied the incident and pointed the finger at a militia group set up by the authorities.