The US Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia called for an investigation into an alleged massacre of civilians taking place in Ethiopia’s Amhara region on Friday, where local rights group Ethiopia Human Rights Council (EHRC) has said over 80 people were killed following violent clashes between soldiers and a militia groupknown as the Fano.
On January 29, the ENDF reportedly carried out a massacre in Merawi that resulted in at least 89 civilian deaths, though the National Movement of Amhara claims that this number now exceeds 125.
The statement, shared on X (formerly Twitter), said that the “US government is deeply concerned” by the reports of targeted civilian killings in Merawi, a town in the Ethiopian region of Amhara. “We call for unfettered access by independent human rights monitors as well as an impartial investigation to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice,” the statement read, concluding, “Dialogue- not violence- is the only way forward.”
The US State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs shared the statement, adding that the US “condemns violence against civilians,” and stands “ready to support peaceful dialogue aimed at resolving Ethiopia’s complex challenges.”
The Amhara region has recently been gripped by several internal conflicts, following the outbreak of a rebellion in the northern Ethiopian state last year. Ethiopian government forces stormed Amhara in April of 2023 to disarm paramilitary forces, resulting in the displacement of local civilians to remote areas as they attempted to absorb regional militias into the federal army.
The Fano, who were previously allied with the Ethiopian National Defense Force in the war against the paramilitary Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), united with Amhara regional forces against the federal military.
Reports of various human rights abuses perpetrated by government forces have emerged during the conflict, including allegations of extra-judicial killings. People of Amhara origin living outside the region were also targeted, with several living in the Ethiopian capital city Addis Ababa reportedly being arrested by federal security forces.
The Ethiopian parliament has voted to extend a state of emergency in the Ambara region. Gedu Andargachew, the region’s former president, fled the country and is seeking asylum in Belgium.