ADDIS ABABA, Dec 2 (Reuters) – The government of Ethiopia’s largest region, Oromiya, on Saturday accused the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) rebel group of killing “many civilians” in attacks that followed the failure of peace talks in Tanzania.
At least 36 people were killed when unidentified attackers struck three villages in Oromiya’s Shirka district on Nov. 24 and 27, residents told Reuters.
Hailu Adugna, the Oromiya region’s spokesman, blamed the attacks on the OLA, an outlawed splinter group of a formerly proscribed opposition party that returned from exile in 2018.
“The terror group is committing brutal acts on civilians because it is now very anxious,” Hailu told the state news agency, adding that properties were also destroyed in the attacks.
There was no immediate comment from the OLA. Federal government spokesman Legesse Tulu did not respond to a request for comment.
The federal government and its Oromiya regional counterparts have mobilised security teams to push out the rebels from areas they control, Hailu said.
The latest attacks came just days after a second round of talks between the government and the OLA to resolve the decades-old conflict ended in Tanzania without a deal.
Seventeen people were killed on Nov. 24 when attackers raided one village and 11 were killed on the same day in another village, residents of the area told Reuters.
One farmer lost seven members of his family, including his wife and son. Two of his other children suffered injuries and were being treated in hospital, the farmer said.
“They targeted Orthodox Christians,” he said.
Another eight people, including babies, were killed in an attack on a third village in the area, the residents, who included a church leader, said.