Amhara Fano and Ethiopian Clashes: Amhara Fear More Extrajudicial Killings

Amhara Fano and Ethiopian Clashes: Amhara Fear More Extrajudicial Killings

Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Amhara have much to fear with ongoing extrajudicial killings of this ethnic group by the armed forces of Ethiopia.

Recent fighting in Bahir Dar between the Fano (Amhara) militia and the central forces of Ethiopia raises the fear of more extrajudicial killings – given recent massacres. Accordingly, central forces loyal to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia seek to crush the independent spirit of the Amhara at all costs.

Tigere Chagutah (Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa) said, “In Ethiopia, systemic impunity continues to embolden perpetrators of crimes in the absence of credible justice and accountability for serious abuses that constitute crimes under international law. It is time to put an end to this pervasive lack of justice accountability nationwide.”

Even leaving the local Christian church can be dangerous for the Amhara. For example, the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) extrajudicially killed Aynew Defresh and his two sons (Kassahun and Abraham) after they left a Christian church in Amhara.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) reported that in late January, “The identity of at least 45 civilians who were extrajudicially killed by government security forces for allegedly ‘supporting [ethnic Amhara armed group] Fano’.”

Voice of America reports, “The government-appointed human rights commission in Ethiopia says violent outbreaks have been increasing in recent months, with increased reports of house-to-house raids by government forces and drone attacks.”

Modern Tokyo Times recently reported, “Another report by the EHRC confirms that 15 Amhara civilians were killed on January 19. This happened in the East Gojam Zone (Ye’edwha City – Shebel Berenta District). In this massacre, government troops killed 15 civilians (men and women) after seeking to find Fano and Amharic ethnic militias – opposed to the centralization and power concentration policies of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia.”

Another upturn in fighting in Bahir Dar raises fresh fears of new massacres by the armed forces of Ethiopia. Hence, despite countless reports of extrajudicial killings, local authorities loyal to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared a “joint operation and house-to-house surveillance around Bahir Dar to sweep out the extremist force that had infiltrated into the city.”

The London School of Economics blog (Birhanu Bitew) reports, “The goal of the Amhara Fano is to end the systemic oppression directed against Amhara and to save Ethiopia from balkanisation, as its motto states: ‘Our starting point is Amhara, and our end point is Ethiopia’. Because Abiy is failing to respond to the Amhara questions and has deployed his troops in the Amhara region, the Amhara Fano now feel compelled to fight back.”

The Amhara have much to fear within their homeland and in surrounding regions.

For example, Human Rights Watch in 2022 said, “An armed group killed several hundred Amhara civilians in western Oromia in June 2022 while Ethiopian security forces did little to protect them, Human Rights Watch said today. Nearly three months later, the Ethiopian government has failed to provide adequate shelter or meaningfully address the serious health and protection concerns of surviving residents.”

Convulsions in recent years in Ethiopia and ethnic massacres of the Amhara – along with extrajudicial killings of the Amhara by government forces – entail the need for the Amhara to defend themselves.

Regional grievances in Amhara, Tigray, and other parts of the country need to be addressed by the central government rather than the military option – and pitting ethnic groups against each other. However, the actions of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed are focused on power concentration – backed by the armed forces and other areas of the state apparatus.

Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group Modern Tokyo Times – International News and Japan News – Sawako Utsumi and Modern Tokyo Times artist Modern Tokyo News – Tokyo News and International News