Eyewitnesses said that more than 150 people were killed in Merawi city of Amhara region.

Residents and eyewitnesses told the Africa News Channel that more than 50 people were killed in an attack on Monday, January 20, 2016, in the Merawi town of the new North Gojam zone in the Amhara region.

Residents who spoke to the Africa News Channel said that several people were killed in an attack on residents following a battle between the Defense Forces and Fano militants in the town of Merawi, which is about 35 kilometers from the capital of the region.

The Bahir Dar office of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has informed the Africa News Channel that it has received information from various sources about the attack on innocent people in Marawi City and is conducting monitoring and investigation.

Following the incident, the BBC spoke to five people, including a hospital source, and most of the residents said that the killings were carried out on civilians in their homes and on the streets.

Monday, January 20, 2016 Residents say that there was a “heavy battle” between the Defense Forces and the Fano forces from midnight before the attack, after which 50 to 100 people “disappeared.”

The eyewitnesses said that this attack took place around five o’clock in the morning after Fano’s forces left the city, “the defense forces went from house to house and killed the people they found on the road.” They said the attack lasted until one o’clock in the evening.

A resident said that his brother, a father of four who worked as a day laborer, was killed. Then they entered my brother’s house and took him away.”

The residents, who were waiting for their brother to be taken for questioning and returned, stated that they watched them being taken away and killed along with others.

“They killed a child with five bullets and dumped him on the cobbles in our neighborhood. They also gathered them [their brother and other people], and together, they took 13 people to the asphalt and killed them. … We believed them because we killed them.”

Regarding this incident, a medical expert confirmed to the BBC that he knew that 13 people were killed on the side of the asphalt, adding that a total of 85 people were killed in the city that day.

The civil servant, who did not want to be named and said that his younger brother was killed, said that his brother was taken away from his child’s arms and “brutally left me.”

“My brother was taken from his house with his child and killed. His wife said, ‘I was forced to accept the child. I received the child…They killed him on the road while he was looking at his forehead. She told me that they killed his friend who was with him.

Apart from their brother, they said that they saw 50 dead bodies on the road that day. However, they estimated that many people must have been killed “on every road and in every forest.”

Another eyewitness mentioned that they attended several funerals and put the death toll at over 100.

The day after the attack, January 21/2016, E.C., A resident of Merawi, said that 48 bodies were counted in the morning; “From Marzeneb Hotel to Bared River, there were only corpses left and right,” he said.

Putting the death toll at around 115, an eyewitness says that “from a six-year-old child to a 75-year-old man” was killed in the neighborhoods of Stadium and Health Center after the city was taken over.

An eyewitness who is a hospital worker said that 25 people, including a six-month pregnant woman, were injured at the city’s primary hospital and said, “There are no survivors.”

“The 24 came to the hospital dead. A six-month pregnant woman died on arrival at the hospital. A total of 25 people came,” he said.

Apart from the house-to-house searches, the security forces also “kneeled with revenge” on street people and day laborers, including model students, residents, families, and eyewitnesses.

Residents said that a “revenge action” taken in response to the sudden attack by Fano militants on Monday morning among members of the defense forces stationed in two locations in the city administration building was the reason for the killing of several people.

“Fanon brought you up; It is you who attacked you. A resident whose house was searched said they were “threatening” while saying, “You will reverse Fanon.” They said the attack was revenge, saying that we were silent because of “farewell from death.”

Residents told the BBC that they witnessed a horrible situation where many people were killed and dumped in different places.

“Most people were distinguished by their clothes and body shape. A witness told the BBC that the mass burial took place because it was challenging to identify the bodies.

Residents said, “According to the culture and tradition, the proper burial was not done for the people who were killed.” They described the attack as saying, “What happened was more brutal than brutal,” saying that it is not acceptable to mourn and cry.

According to residents, two churches in the area were “damaged with heavy weapons” in the fighting between the security forces and Fano militants. At the same time, personal property and 15 three-legged vehicles (Bajaj) were set on fire.

Residents added that the attack, in which many people were killed, happened on the eve of Maryam King’s Day, which is celebrated in the city on January 21 every year.

Even though it has been five days since the attack, the residents say the city is still frigid, banks and commercial establishments are closed, and there is “no activity.”

Efforts by the BBC to get an explanation and response from the regional and zonal administration and the local command post about the incident were unsuccessful.

It may be recalled that we have previously reported that civilians have been injured in the clashes between government forces and Fano militants in different areas of the Amhara region since last year.

Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) October 19/2015 E.C In July 2015, E.C., there were armed conflicts in all zones in the Amhara region at different levels and times. As a result, many civilians have been killed and injured.

Residents said, “According to the culture and tradition, the proper burial was not done for the people who were killed.” They described the attack as saying, “What happened was more brutal than brutal,” saying that it is not acceptable to mourn and cry.

According to residents, two churches in the area were “damaged with heavy weapons” in the fighting between the security forces and Fano militants. At the same time, personal property and 15 three-legged vehicles (Bajaj) were set on fire.

Residents added that the attack, in which many people were killed, happened on the eve of Maryam King’s Day, which is celebrated in the city on January 21 every year.

Even though it has been five days since the attack, the residents say the city is still frigid, banks and commercial establishments are closed, and there is “no activity.”

Efforts by the BBC to get an explanation and response from the regional and zonal administration and the local command post about the incident were unsuccessful.

It may be recalled that we have previously reported that civilians have been injured in the clashes between government forces and Fano militants in different areas of the Amhara region since last year.

Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) October 19/2015 In July 2015, there were armed conflicts in all zones in the Amhara region at different levels and times. As a result, many civilians have been killed and injured.
A statement said the EHRC had confirmed “the identity of at least 45 civilians who were extrajudicially killed by government security forces for allegedly ‘supporting Fano,’ ” an ethnic Amhara militia.

“However, it can be assumed that the number of victims is even higher,” it underscored.

The killings in the town of Merawi follow months of clashes last year between Ethiopia’s military and Fano, a “self-defense” militia.

The fighting prompted the federal government to impose a state of emergency in August that lawmakers extended by four months this month.

The United States last week said it was deeply concerned by reports of “targeted civilian killings” in Merawi and called for an independent investigation.

The Amhara violence reignited concerns about the stability of Ethiopia months after a peace agreement was signed in November 2022 to end a two-year conflict in the neighboring region of Tigray.

Amhara regional forces fought alongside federal troops against Tigrayan rebels. However, ties frayed in April last year when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government decided to dismantle state paramilitaries across the country.

Amhara nationalists said it would weaken their region and protested against the move.

In September, the EHRC accused federal government forces of carrying out extra-judicial killings in Amhara and mass arbitrary detentions in the region and elsewhere.

EHRC, who explained that the killing of many people in Merawi city was due to the intense shooting and house-to-house search during the conflict, said he heard from eyewitnesses that mass killings were carried out by taking men out into the streets through house-to-house searches.

According to the congregation, two women and a 17-year-old boy were among the dead.

Residents who spoke to the BBC said that the killing of civilians was the result of fighting between the security forces and Fano militants.

Family members and eyewitnesses said that most of the residents of Merawi town, which is about 35 kilometers from the regional capital, Bahir Dar, were killed in their homes and by civilians found on the road.

The eyewitnesses said that the attack lasted until one o’clock in the evening after Fano’s forces left the city at around 5:00 a.m.

Residents who spoke to the BBC at the time, including a medic, said more than 50 people had been killed, ranging from “a six-year-old child to a 75-year-old man”, based on the bodies they saw, with many saying the death toll could be more than 100.

The BBC heard from residents that some of the residents who felt threatened after the massacre of civilians in Merawi City fled to Bahir Dar and other areas.

Neither the regional administration nor the federal government has officially said anything about the incident in Marawi City, which is almost two weeks old.

Since the end of last year, following the unrest in the Amhara region, it is known that there have been clashes between the Defense Forces and Fano militants in many areas of the region.

Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) October 19/2016 E.C In July 2015, armed conflicts occurred in all Amhara region zones at different levels and times. As a result, many civilians have been killed and injured.