Airstrike Devastates Ethiopian Town Square, Leaving 26 Dead And Dozens Injured

The attack comes amidst escalating tensions between local militia and the Ethiopian military, casting a somber shadow over the recently asserted calm in the Amhara region.

Representative photo of an airstrike

In a shocking incident that unfolded on Sunday, an airstrike ripped through the heart of the Finote Selam community in Ethiopia's Amhara region, leaving a devastating toll in its wake. According to a senior health official, at least 26 lives were tragically lost, while more than 55 individuals sustained severe injuries in the crowded town square. The strike shattered what authorities had recently claimed as restored calm in the area.

Sources indicate that the targeted area had witnessed escalating tensions between local militia members and Ethiopia's military, stemming from efforts to disband the militia known as Fano. The conflict escalated to the point where the military forcefully regained control over key Amhara towns. Amid this turmoil, the airstrike struck the bustling town square, leading to the loss of 22 lives on the spot, with several survivors enduring amputations as a result of their injuries, according to AP reports. 

Eyewitness accounts suggest that the strike possibly targeted a civilian truck transporting essential supplies to the Fano militia fighters, yet the veracity of this claim remains to be confirmed. Calls for clarification from federal government officials have gone unanswered thus far.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, appointed by the state, has reported disturbing details of the situation. It documented "credible reports of strikes and shelling" not only in Finote Selam but also in other towns within the Amhara region. The toll on civilians has been substantial, and the report highlights that regional officials were also under attack, leading to temporary disruptions in local governance structures.

This incident has sparked further concerns as it unfolds against the backdrop of a state of emergency declared by the Ethiopian Cabinet in the Amhara region. The emergency measures grant authorities sweeping powers, including warrantless arrests, searches, and curfews. This has resulted in a wave of detentions, primarily targeting individuals of Amhara origin, according to reports from rights groups and legal experts.

Lawyers who have been investigating the situation have discovered alarming levels of arrests. Multiple makeshift detention centers, including schools and police stations, are reportedly holding hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals. Some are accused of having links to the Fano militia, while others seem to have been apprehended due to their discussions or perceived associations.

The Ethiopian government has contradicted claims of mass arrests, asserting that only a limited number of individuals have been detained under the state of emergency. Among those arrested is Christian Tadele, an opposition lawmaker, which raises questions about potential violations of parliamentary immunity.

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