A devastating aerial strike targeting a church compound in Ethiopia’s Oromiya region resulted in eight fatalities and five injuries, eyewitnesses and an opposition political party reported.
Dismissing these claims, government spokesperson Legesse Tulu labelled the reports of the air strike as “an absolute lie.”
The attack occurred at the Baro Full Gospel Church in the Horo Gudru Wellega zone, approximately 200 km northwest of Addis Ababa, during a gathering for corn collection. Among the casualties were church members, including deacons, band members, and a choir singer, as shared by an anonymous church attendee. “I heard a strange and terrifying sound… bodies and flesh scattered in the cornfield,” the witness recounted.
Officials, including Prime Minister’s Office spokeswoman Billene Seyoum and military spokesman Colonel Getnet Adane, remained silent on the incident, while the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) initiated an investigation, confirmed Badassa Lemessa, head of the local EHRC office.
Another witness from the area suggested that the strike might have been carried out by a drone. “We couldn’t see it. It was very far away and the sound was like a drone,” the witness described.
The Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), an outlawed faction of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), attributed the deaths to a drone strike, echoing the OLF’s accusations of marginalisation and neglect of Oromiya residents.