Amnesty International, a non-governmental organization focused on human rights, has accused the Ethiopian government of killing civilians who were ideologically opposed to the current regime.
According to Africa News, Amnesty claimed that security forces have murdered at least 39 individuals who were reportedly supporters of the opposition party. In addition, authorities had allegedly arrested thousands of others by accusing them of being part of an armed group. Those who were killed and arrested were located in the Oromia region of the country, which spans central and eastern Ethiopia and borders Somalia.
The Ethiopian security forces reportedly took the measures after claiming that the supporters were part of the Oromo Liberation Army, the armed faction of the Oromo Liberation Front. The party was founded in 1973 on the principle that the Oromo are a separate people and deserve their own nation.
"Security forces have continued to violate human rights despite reforms introduced by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and this is due to widespread impunity and lack of accountability for those violations," claimed Amnesty International's Ethiopia researcher Fisseha Tekle on the tragic incident.
Amnesty added that in addition to the killings and arrests, government officials had also orchestrated mass detentions and even rape.
"The report is further proof that the new administration has not parted ways with the practice of forcefully stifling dissent, committing egregious human rights violations and carrying out extrajudicial killings," wrote the Oromo Liberation Front and the Oromo Federalist Congress (another opposition party) in a joint statement.
The two groups also called upon the prime minister to investigate the claims made in Amnesty's report.Though the Oromo Liberation Army was once declared a terrorist movement and banned from the nation's politics, it had been reinstated by Prime Minister Ahmed. The move was part of an effort by the prime minister to have a more open political process. The decision also included freeing all political prisoners and allowing all political parties.
However, many critics have argued that the action has had dark unforeseen consequences. Pundits have claimed that allowing previously banned opposition parties has heightened racial tensions in the African nation, which is comprised of as many as 80 different ethnic groups. Politicos have claimed that without restrictions, ethnic groups have begun jostling for power at the expense of national unity.
Ethiopia is not the only nation on the continent to suffer from political-based violence. As was previously covered by The Inquisitr, three female politicians in Zimbabwe were kidnapped, assaulted, and abandoned in another example of opposition-targeted violence.