On 18 June 2022, the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) was accused of massacring over 500 Amhara civilians in the Gimbi county of Oromia Region, Ethiopia. Witnesses said that the OLA intentionally targeted ethnic Amhara people.[2][3] This attack is part of a series of Amhara massacres that occurred in 2022.

Gimbi massacre
Part of the Oromo conflict
Gimbi massacre is located in Ethiopia
Gimbi massacre
Gimbi massacre (Ethiopia)
LocationTole, Gimbi, Oromia Region, Ethiopia
Coordinates9°03′59″N 36°06′03″E / 9.066269824024126°N 36.100787072783426°E / 9.066269824024126; 36.100787072783426
Date18 June 2022 (2022-06-18)
Deaths554+ (per witnesses)[1]
VictimsAmhara civilians
PerpetratorsOromo Liberation Army (denied by OLA)

A witness told the Associated Press he had counted at least 230 bodies and said he was "afraid this is the deadliest attack against civilians we have seen in our lifetime" and that mass graves were being dug for victims.[4][5] One resident told reporters that the death toll surpassed 260 people, while others placed it higher at 320.[6][7]

The government blamed rebels, and witnesses accused the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) for carrying out the attack in Tole and surroundings, but the OLA denied that their troops were present, and put the blame on the government forces.[8][9] The Government of Oromia however confirmed that an attack had occurred.[10] The government was accused of not eliminating threats as OLF due to involvement in scheme.[11]



In the 1990s, the TPLF, a predominantly Tigrayan militia, overthrew the Ethiopian government and held power until 2018, when ethnic Oromo Abiy Ahmed won the election. Tensions between the TPLF, now a political party in the Tigray region, and Ahmed's government grew until it reached a boiling point in late 2020 that began the Tigray War. Since then, both the Ethiopian government and TPLF have been accused of war crimes in the Tigray region, with spillovers in the Amhara Region and Oromia.[12]

The TPLF went on an offensive in summer 2021, allying with the ethnocentrist Oromo Liberation Front against the Ethiopian government. This heavily increased the OLA's participation in the war, and the OLA has been accused of persecuting ethnic Amhara in the Oromia region.[13]



Around June 17, residents said that security forces in Tole left the area without explanation.[14] On the morning of June 18, the OLA, allegedly aided by ethnic Oromo in the area, sought out ethnic Amhara in ten villages across Gimbi woreda in Western Oromia. The perpetrators predominantly used machine guns to kill their victims, but machetes, mass executions, and immolation were also used. 55 people were executed in a village outside the village of Chefie, and two massacres took place in the village of Silsaw; 14 women and children were killed in a vacant home in the town, and over 48 people were killed in the town's mosque. Similarly, 13 Amhara were charred in the villages of Gutin Sefer and Silsaw.[15]

Looting also occurred in the aftermath of the massacre, with one witness stating "everything was damaged."[16]

The Gimbi massacre is the deadliest massacre in the West Welega Zone of Ethiopia in recent years, and was harshly criticized by the Ethiopian government.

Witnesses told Human Rights Watch (HRW) that the perpetrators spoke Oromo and some had a distinctive hairstyle common among OLA fighters. They said the attackers wore a mix of civilian clothes and uniforms worn by the Oromia regional special forces and local militias as well as outdated Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) uniforms. Government security forces arrived in the area after the perpetrators had left despite multiple calls for assistance. The massacre took place over the span of eight hours.[14]

Satellite imagery confirmed the burning of at least 5 villages and 480 civilian structures.[14]



Foreign governments


The spokesperson for the US State Department, Ned Price, issued a statement on the victims of the attack and urged peaceful solutions and accountability on human rights. The Embassy of United States to FDRE reiterated the message which the State Department's spokesperson issued.[17][18] The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, also issued a separate messaging condemning the attacks on civilians and urging a peaceful solution. She said "We continue to call for all Ethiopians to choose peace, not violence. And we continue to call for comprehensive, inclusive justice for victims and accountability for those who have carried out human rights abuses and violations."[19]



The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also condemned the attack calling it a "terrorist" attack by armed insurgent groups.[20]



The Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed condemned the attacks on innocent civilians calling it "unacceptable."[21] Two days after the attack famous Ethiopian singer Teddy Afro released a song "Na'at" ("unleavened bread") which reflects "the dark time of Ethiopia".[22][23] According to HRW, as of 31 August 2022 the government had failed to provide adequate shelter, food, medical care, and security for the affected communities. Residents said little had been done to investigate the massacre and bring perpetrators to justice.[14]

United Nations


The Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres condemned the massacre stating, "The secretary-general condemns the reported killing of scores of civilians in Oromia this weekend," said Stephane Dujarric, chief spokesman for Guterres."[24]

See also



  1. ^ ""It Seems Like The Whole Population Was Killed"" (PDF). Amhara Association of America. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  2. ^ "Witnesses say more than 200 killed in Ethiopia ethnic attack". AP NEWS. 2022-06-19. Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  3. ^ "Over 200 civilians killed as rebel group, government troops clash in Ethiopia". UPI News. June 20, 2022.
  4. ^ "More than 200 people killed in Ethiopia ethnic attack, witnesses say". PBS NewsHour. 2022-06-19. Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  5. ^ "Ethiopia: more than 200 Amhara people killed in attack blamed on rebels". the Guardian. Associated Press. 2022-06-19. Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  6. ^ "Attack in Ethiopia's Oromiya region kills at least 260". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  7. ^ "Gimbi Ethiopia : Over 200 massacred in Oromo region". Borkena. June 19, 2022.
  8. ^ Feleke, Bethlehem (2022-06-20). "At least 200 civilians killed in western Ethiopia, say reports and officials". CNN News. Retrieved 2022-07-20.
  9. ^ Sabes, Adam (2022-06-19). "Ethiopia ethnic attack leaves over 200 killed, witnesses say". Fox News. Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  10. ^ "More than 100 killed in Ethiopia's Oromia region: Witnesses". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2022-06-20.
  11. ^ "Over 200 people dead, after attack by Oneg Shena an ethnic separatist group". The Low Ethiopian Reports. June 19, 2022.
  12. ^ "Ethiopia's Tigray war: The short, medium and long story". BBC News. 2021-06-29. Retrieved 2022-07-08.
  13. ^ VINCENOT, Aymeric. "Ethiopia's Abiy Accuses OLA Rebels Of New 'Massacre'". www.barrons.com. Retrieved 2022-07-08.
  14. ^ a b c d "Ethiopia: Civilians in Western Oromia Left Unprotected". Human Rights Watch. 2022-08-31. Retrieved 2022-09-01.
  15. ^ "An Interim Report on the June 18th, 2022 Amhara Massacre in the Tole Kebele, Gimbi Woreda, West Wollega Zone of Ethiopia's Oromia Region by Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) militants" (PDF). Amhara Association of America. July 3, 2022. Retrieved July 8, 2022.
  16. ^ "An Interim Report on the June 18th, 2022 Amhara Massacre in the Tole Kebele, Gimbi Woreda, West Wollega Zone of Ethiopia's Oromia Region by Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) militants" (PDF). Amhara Association of America. July 3, 2022. Retrieved July 8, 2022.
  17. ^ "Civilians Killed in Ethiopia". State.gov. June 21, 2022. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
  18. ^ "Civilians Killed in Ethiopia". et.usembassy.gov. June 21, 2022. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
  19. ^ "Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield". June 21, 2022.
  20. ^ "Iran condemns terrorist attack in Ethiopia". Mehr News. June 21, 2022.
  21. ^ Pandey, Nikhil (June 21, 2022). "320 people killed in Ethiopian gun attack, witnesses claim". WION.
  22. ^ "Teddy Afro released new song "Unleavened Bread" ናዕት (እያመመው ቁጥር ፪) after Gimbi Massacre in Oromia: timed?". The Low Ethiopian Reports. June 22, 2022. Retrieved June 22, 2022.
  23. ^ Solomon, Abiy (June 23, 2022). "Teddy Afro bashes government with a critical new single". Addis Zeybe. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  24. ^ "UN chief condemns civilian massacre in Ethiopia's Oromia region". Big News Network via Xinhua. June 20, 2022. Retrieved June 20, 2022.