Country Risk

Recurring small-arms violence and robbery likely in Ethiopia’s western and southern Oromia, southeast Amhara

11 April 2019

Small-arms fighting reportedly killed up to 27 people in Ethiopia’s Amhara region’s North Shewa and Oromia zones during 5–7 April, closing the main road between the capital Addis Ababa and Dessie city (South Wollo zone) and prompting federal security forces to intervene. Amhara region officials blamed the violence on armed elements of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) – which denied this – but both ethnic-Amhara and -Oromo local militias, as well as Amhara region’s paramilitary ‘special police’, were likely also involved.

The violence targeted civilians and security forces, with a church and a bank also robbed. We have previously identified Oromia zone as a violence flashpoint due to its special administrative and language status within the Amhara region, and activists have adopted demands around these issues following the recent violence.

Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at

(154 of 367 words)