The attack against Muslim worshippers in Gondar, Amhara region, is a harbinger of doom for peace and stability in Ethiopia and beyond.
The Amhara Fano, an illegally armed militia group, is allegedly behind the massacre that resulted in the death of more than 40 civilians. According a leader of Islamic Affairs of the Amhara region, the perpetrators threw explosives and fired machine guns on a crowd of Muslims at the funeral of a prominent elderly man. He said the attackers also vandalized and looted businesses belonging to Muslims in the city of Gondar.
Survivors of the attack blame the Amhara region government for giving tacit support to the attackers. They say the officials not only failed to stop the massacre but also tried to cover up the nature and the extent of the damage.
The Amhara Media Corporation, AMCO, a media outlet owned by the regional government, described the attack that resulted in the death of more than 40 people as a “minor security issue.”
The Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have recently accused the Fano militias of brutal treatment of ethnic Tigrayans and other crimes including ethnic cleaning and crimes against humanity.
Violence against civilians is reprehensible, but the attack on Muslims in the Holy month of Ramadan at a funeral is beyond comprehension by any stretch of imagination.
Political pundits see the Fano militias, Nostalgic and Serbian-like nationalists, as a threat to peace and stability in Ethiopia. Minorities in Amhara region including ethnic Tigrayans, Qimant, and the Wollo Oromo have been targeted by the Fano militia.
Tigray rebels accuse the Eritrean government of arming and training the Fano. If the allegations turns out to be true, what transpired in Gondar is a harbinger of doom for Ethiopia’s future!