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Bachelet urges prompt investigation into killings in western Ethiopia

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GENEVA (23 June 2022) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday urged Ethiopian authorities to hold prompt, impartial and thorough investigations into attacks that led to the killing of hundreds of people in the West Wollega zone, western Ethiopia, last weekend.

The UN Human Rights Office has spoken to witnesses who report that at around 9am local time on 18 June a group of armed individuals descended on the village of Tole, with a predominantly Amhara population, and reportedly began shooting randomly, leaving hundreds dead - most of them women and children – and forcing at least 2,000 others to flee from their homes. The armed individuals also reportedly burned down several houses during the four-hour assault.

“I am horrified by the senseless killing as well as the forced displacement of the local population in the attack on Tole village,” Bachelet said. “I call on the Ethiopian authorities to ensure that investigations are promptly launched into the attack and to ensure that victims and their families have a right to truth, justice and reparations, including by holding those responsible to account.”

An unspecified number of people are reported to have been abducted during the attack and their whereabouts remain unknown. “I call on the authorities to take all necessary and lawful measures to ensure those abducted regain their freedom,” the High Commissioner said.

Amid increasing tensions and violence which has erupted in various regions of Ethiopia in recent weeks, the High Commissioner urged the government to ensure and protect the right to life.

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