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Ethiopian PM Vows to Defeat Insurgents Blamed for Killings

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addresses lawmakers at the parliament in Addis Ababa, July 7, 2022.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has vowed to defeat the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), an insurgent group he is blaming for two massacres in the past three weeks.

Addressing parliament Thursday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed condemned two recent massacres targeting members of the Amhara ethnic group as “inhumane acts of violence” carried out by “evil forces.”

The most recent massacre took place Monday in the West Wellega zone of Ethiopia's Oromia region, resulting in an unknown number of deaths.

Those killings followed a separate incident last month in which armed men killed 338 Amhara villagers, according to official government figures.

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Ethiopia’s government blames the Oromo Liberation Army — or the OLA — for the killings. The insurgent group claims to be fighting for greater autonomy for the Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, but it has been accused of a spate of bloody human rights abuses.

Speaking to lawmakers on Thursday, Abiy pledged to eliminate the OLA. He also made a rare admission of losses on the government side, saying that police officers and soldiers have been dying on a “daily” basis battling the insurgent group. He added that woreda, or district officials, also have been assassinated.

Abiy’s address came a day after Ethiopia’s parliament held a moment of silence for victims of the massacres and set up a committee to investigate.

Phone service to the area is down, making it difficult to verify the number of people killed in Monday’s violence, which has fueled rising discontent among ethnic Amhara.