Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has accused a rebel group of carrying out a “new massacre” of civilians in the western Oromia state.
In a statement on Twitter on Monday, Abiy said the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) was “inflicting damage” on civilians as its fighters fled an offensive by security forces in Oromia.
“Citizens living in the Qellem Wollega zone of Oromia state have been massacred,” he said, without giving details.
“We will pursue this terrorist group to the end and eradicate it,” he added.
Abiy’s office did not provide death figures and it was not possible to verify the information as access to Oromia is restricted. The region where the killings took place was also under a communications blackout.
Officials have blamed the OLA for a number of killings targeting Amharas, Ethiopia’s second-largest ethnic group, although the rebels have denied responsibility.
The United States-based Amhara Association of America (AAA) told the AFP news agency that Monday’s attack targeted Amhara in a village in the Hawa Gelan district of Qellem Wollega.
It said phone communication into the remote area has been cut since midday.
One survivor told the Amhara Media Corporation, a state-run regional outlet, that “nobody came to our rescue”.
“They [the attackers] have left and bodies are now being picked up, so far 300 [bodies] have been collected,” the survivor said. “But it’s still early, there are many others whose whereabouts we don’t know.”