By the Numbers: Ethiopia, 30 September-6 October 20231Some events from this coverage period might be included in the data in subsequent weeks due to reporting delays.
- Total number of political violence events: 21
- Total number of reported fatalities from political violence: 63
- Total number of reported fatalities from civilian targeting: 30
By the Numbers: Ethiopia, 30 September 2022-6 October 2023
- Total number of political violence events: 1,170
- Total number of reported fatalities from political violence: 3,744
- Total number of reported fatalities from civilian targeting: 1,626
Amhara region has been relatively calm, while the number of conflict events has slightly increased in Oromia region. Most political violence across these two regions last week involved Fano militias as well as the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)-Shane.
Last week, three battles and one violence against civilians were reported in Amhara region. Fano militias and the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) clashed near Lalibela town and in Arbit Gashena area in North Wello zone. The two actors also clashed in and the surrounding areas of Quara, Metema and Delgi in West Gonder zone. There were reports of heavy artillery fired by ENDF in Woldiya town in North Wello zone. Additionally, members of Fano militias opened fire in Jara kebele in Artuma Fursi woreda, Oromia special zone, killing a farmer. Continuous and intense armed clashes between Fano militias and ENDF have occurred across the region since August, prompting the federal government to declare a state of emergency on 4 August. Over the past two months, reports of shelling, airstrikes, and battles have occurred in multiple cities and towns across the region (for more, see EPO Weekly: 29 July-4 August 2023 and EPO Monthly: August 2023).
In Oromia region, ten battles and four events of violence against civilians were reported last week (see map below). Most armed clashes – four out of ten—occurred between Fano militias and the OLF-Shane in North Shewa zone. Both militant groups also clashed with government forces in this zone, located at the border of Amhara and Oromia regions. On 2 October, the Ethiopian Air Forces launched two rounds of drone strikes against the OLF-Shane in Jiru Dada kebele in Dera woreda, North Shewa. Previously, the most common events in this zone were battles between the OLF-Shane and government forces and violence against civilians (and specifically Amhara civilians) by the OLF-Shane. However, clashes between Fano militias and the OLF-Shane have been reported since August 2023, coinciding with the intensification of fighting between Fano militias and ENDF in Amhara region.
Four armed clashes between Fano militias and government security forces – Oromia state police and kebele militias – were also recorded in Horo Guduru Wollega zone. From 2 to 4 October, the two parties clashed in Tulu Gana kebele in Abe Dongoro woreda in Horo Guduru Wollega zone. On 4 October, Oromia state police clashed with Fano militias in Abe Dongoro town after Fano militias opened fire and arbitrarily killed and wounded an unknown number of civilians in the town. In this zone, Fano militias have been involved in armed clashes with government forces since 30 August 2023.
Violence against civilians in Oromia is perpetrated by various militants and state security forces. OLF-Shane attacked civilians in Dera woreda in North Shewa zone and East Shewa zone in early October, killing at least 17 civilians in Dera woreda. Two days later, the group killed two Orthodox Christians, including a priest, and abducted an unknown number of people at Gara Gureza Arsema Tsebel church in Adama woreda in East Shewa zone. On 1 October, government forces shot and killed two Bajaj drivers (three–wheeler drivers) and wounded two other people in Kokofe kebele in Kiremu woreda, East Wollega zone. The reason behind this attack is unknown.
Tensions have also been high in Meskan and Mareko woredas in the newly established Central Ethiopia region due to inter-communal clashes that erupted on 25 September when an unidentified armed group (believed to be a Meskan ethnic militia), attacked seven Mareko civilians who were returning from a market in Dida kebele. Three people were killed and four injured. Attacks continued the next two days and 1 to 3 October in the disputed kebeles in Meskan woreda, forcing over 2000 people to flee. Over 80 houses were set on fire during this attack.
Residents of Meskan woreda accuse members of the Mareko ethnic group of attacking them.2VOA Amharic, ‘It was stated that people were killed due to territorial dispute in Meskan and Mareko woredas,’ 2 October 2023 For the past two decades, there has been a dispute between the two ethnic groups over the ownership of nine kebeles in Meskan woreda. The last round of conflict over these kebeles occurred in July 2023 (for more information on this conflict, see EPO Weekly: 1-7 July 2023; EPO Weekly: 15-21 July 2023 and EPO Weekly: 22-28 July 2023). When the Central Ethiopia region was established on 19 August 2023, it was decided that Mareko woreda would be a special woreda. Meskan woreda joined with Butajira town to become East Gurage zone.