Acknowledgment: Mesfin Tadesse is the main author of this post.
Atrocities by Government Forces October 01–06, 2023
We begin with atrocities committed by government forces this week – early October. Widespread and ferocious, they are presented before the main list. Forces attacked Orthodox clergy and worshippers at a UNESCO World Heritage site, Amhara farmers, livestock and children, and regional urban civilians.
On October 02, by direct order of the prime minister, generals bombed Asheton Maryam Monastery in Welo. They killed 17 female monks, 31 monks and 53 worshippers, some patients of the monastery. Many worshippers and orthodox clergy were attending a special Maryam service. The monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Nearby, in the vicinity of Lalibela, government forces fired mortar into herds of cattle and other livestock .
On October 03, in west Gojjam, the government attacked innocent civilians with drones .
In isolated rural areas in North Shewa and Gojjam, Abiy Ahmed’s generals have been murdering children. On October 05, their troops apprehended boy cattle herders in North Shewa, tied their hands behind their backs and murdered them. Diaspora called for the prime minister and generals to be tried for war crimes .
On October 05, Abiy Ahmed surrounded all Amhara with 200,000 troops, from North Shewa to Gondar. 789,000 euros from the European Union arrived for him .
List of Government Attacks on Amhara April–September 2023
The following list is a companion to our next post “The April War on Amhara”. It gives examples of government attacks upon Amhara. Our purpose is to suggest the enormity of ongoing crimes against humanity that the Ethiopian government committed for 6 months between April and September 2023. They went unreported in Australia. What about in your country?
The incidents are grouped according to who was attacked and are in approximate date order. New types of atrocities do not mean that old ones have vanished. Ongoing attacks on Amhara farmers by Shene (OLF or OLA) continue but are rarely documented in English. Our post on persecution of Amhara provided links to harrowing evidence. Government forces moved out of the way beforehand to enable attacks, which the prime minister ignored .
Even though it is not comprehensive, our list is alarmingly long. No wonder the high death toll since the November War 2020: 900,000 Tigrayans; 300,000 Amhara; and 185,000 Afar. Recent attacks have been particularly vicious at 2 Gojjam cities: Debre Markos and Bahir Dar. Debre Markos is home to Q’ine poetry, the melodic song genre zefan, and theatrical art. Pristine Bahir Dar, with broad streets, abundant birdlife and enormous trees, is on the shores of Lake Tana.
Amhara in Transit
As of April, travel within Ethiopia became perilous for Amhara. Freedom of movement within Ethiopia vanished. Woyene (the former TPLF government) introduced ethnic identity cards with German encouragement.
A busload travelling from Dessie in Welo to Addis Ababa was shot by Abiy Ahmed’s forces disguised in regular army uniforms. A survivor said that victims included a mother and 2-year-old on their way to a ceremony for the girl in Addis Ababa; and a Welo man and his mother returning to Addis Ababa where his family lived.
People in transit to Debre Libanos in the Rift Valley were stopped and those with Amhara ID cards beheaded.
A regional pope travelled to another monastery for a period of reflection. On the return trip, Security arrested him in Addis Abaya for suspicious movement even though he was exercising constitutionally enshrined rights. After 9 days, he was identified as being held in the prime minister’s secret prison and 2 Federal officers went to murder him at dinner time. One died of snakebite in the vehicle and the other fled. Returned to Addis Ababa, the pope was slapped by a policeman for the death; next day, the officer was fully paralysed.
In September, Orømo police diverted a busload of Amhara commuters, their fate unknown.
Citizens of Addis Ababa
In April, Abiy Ahmed made Addis Ababa shoe shiners buy 2 of his books at 400 ETB. Some sleep on the streets! Speaking at Building College graduations, he said he could nail any 5-year course in 1 year even though his current qualifications are lame.
Thugs associated with the prime minister kidnapped 51 ordinary drivers in July. They ransomed each for 5 million ETB. Wives spread natela shawls on the streets, begging for the money although none could raise so much in a lifetime. Still, the kidnappers killed 38 Amhara drivers. Europeans funded the crime.
Since August, Oromo Security has been conducting door-to-door raids on Amhara citizens. Anybody with material written in classic Amharic, Ge’ez or Hebrew is arrested.
By September, the Ethiopian government banned the display of Ethiopian flag colours; that is, red, green and yellow. A mother of 5 children and 3 grandchildren went to worship at Bahata Maryam Monastery in Addis Ababa. Her shawl was edged with flag colours. For that, a brave Oromo security officer in a tower shot her.
South of Addis Ababa in August, Abiy Ahmed’s thugs bashed apolitical Gurage university students, robbing them of equipment including laptops and mobile phones in case of action against the government.
Citizens of Regional Amhara
During 2020, the mayor of Addis Ababa engaged Chinese contractors, spending 1 billion ETB on refurbishing her offices; yet recently she halted roadworks to Hidassie (Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam) because it’s in Amhara. Those people need hydroelectric power.
In April, Abiy’s forces killed the Amhara chairman for North Shewa; also 5 employees.
Oromo militants dressed as police killed 27 young Amhara in Gojjam.
Field Marshal General Birhana Jula called a negotiation meeting in July in North Shewa with Fano Amhara forces. Snipers shot them all including elders.
Abiy Ahmed declared a state of emergency in August . He sent 20,000 highly trained Airborne to Amhara regions to fight Fano. They systematically attacked civilians, killing children and pregnant women .
Abiy Ahmed’s Airborne sent drones to the city of Debre Markos, home to the famous monastery in east Gojjam. On August 15—in a single day—they killed 579 people. The prime minister said, ‘We are destroying monasteries that hide anti-government fighters,’ but his motivation was revenge. Some monks dared to speak out about his violent tactics.
On August 06, Airborne forces bombed Bahir Dar, the Gojjam city on Lake Tana.
Their drones killed 51 in attacks so savage and prolonged that people could not collect the dead and wounded for 2 days. A family of 5 children and father died. The mother was collecting water, the city supply having been cut. The government had previously blocked power, water and internet to Bahir Dar.
Drones and Helicopters
In Bahir Dar on August 10, Abiy Ahmed’s forces killed 85 bajaj (3-wheel taxi drivers), all breadwinners. Simultaneously, they blasted Belay Zelek’s statue with 5 kilograms of plastics, turning it to dust.
Around this time, drones killed 511 Amhara at Dembecha in west Gojjam.
In August, 113 farmers and monks in Gondar were gunned down from a government helicopter.
At Gondar during August, government tanks flattened the 11-metre statue of Emperor Tewodros II. This work portrayed his last stand during the 1868 Maqdala Campaign. Brussels rewarded Abiy Ahmed with more tanks.
Abiy Ahmed killed 817 civilians at Debre Markos, Gojjam on August 29.
Also in late August, he killed another 103. He attacked Gondar’s UNESCO World Heritage List Fasil Castle (Fasil Ghebbi) with missiles and even bombed civilians’ grass-thatched huts.
Around this time, government troops bombed a green mill in Gojjam where women took teff for grinding. They killed 9 women and 3 millers.
During the past 6 months, Ethiopian forces murdered 36 Amhara civilians at Debre Birhan in North Shewa.
In September, Abiy Ahmed’s troops continued murdering and looting defenceless villagers while searching for Amhara Fano fighters .
At Bahir Dar on September 03, government forces bombed and pillaged Dib Anbesa. This is singer Gigi’s intricately carved and mosaic-work historic family hotel.
Horses, Cattle and Farmers
On September 18 in Gojjam, government forces killed 11,000 horse and cattle in a drone attack. They also used Spitfires against farmers and attacked cows, sheep and goats with drones. A farmer’s best weapon is a shovel, so they hid in caves and the bush and starved.
Around this time, at Nekemte in Welega, government soldiers captured 9 Amhara aged 14–23 and put them in the back of a utility truck with a log on their heads that had written on it, ‘Dirty Semitic’. On their mouths they wrote in Amharic, ‘Not human’. The Oromo bullies drove them around the city for 3 hours, intending to execute them in Menelik Town Square. However, because many filmed them, a colonel stopped this, saying there was too much evidence.
There have been reports of armed forces associated with the government carrying out systematic rape, especially upon Jewish women, sometimes in front of small children. Amhara and Afar already endured permanently disabling genocidal rape attacks by the junta 2021–22. It followed Abiy Ahmed’s withdrawal of defence forces from Welo.
On 24 & 25 September, Amhara Association of America posted alerts about convoys of government forces approaching Amhara areas including Gondar (Gonder) and Bahir Dar cities .
Late in September, government drones killed 11 farmers in Gojjam. They were weeding a teff crop.
On approximately September 28, Abiy Ahmed’s fighters attacked Gojjam farmers with a drone. They killed 9 that specialised in a rare variety of teff grain and oats. 5 women, who had brought lunch to them, also died. The government thugs then seized 5 young boys and cut off their penises. When survivors took them to hospital, their lives could not be saved due to loss of blood. This atrocity was committed on the Oromo holiday Irreechaa.
Around June, Abiy Ahmed arrested the top Ethiopian surgeon, who taught at Black Lion Hospital and did his PhD in Germany, telling him to leave the country.
In September, government forces confronted medical staff at a Debre Markos hospital in Gojjam. ‘You treat wounded Fano fighters.’
A doctor replied, ‘We are taught to treat whoever needs medical help.’
Abiy Ahmed’s thugs shot him along with other doctors and nurses working at the hospital.
At Woldia Hospital in Welo, doctors stood up to government troops invading a ward treating critically injured Fano fighters.
Monks, Monasteries and Mosques
Bahir Dar Monk
In Bahir Dar, Gojjam, in May, a government squad of 5 arrested a yellow-robed monk. It made him strip in public on the pretext of looking for smuggled weapons. Government snipers shot 2 boys that were shouting at the squad to stop. Then the squad put the monk in a secured ambulance, in the back. At their destination, the monk had vanished.
Debre Elias Monastery
Precious Memories Gone
In May, Abiy Ahmed sent his special forces to attack Debre Elias Monastery in eastern Gojjam. For several days they bombed it, aiming to destroy the surface buildings to access the underground that requires a code. The forces initially slaughtered 2 monks. Europeans barely condemned the attacks even though the monastery housed ancient goatskin books belonging to Memory of the World.
Germans told the aggressor that a diamond was hidden in the spire atop the roof, so they launched a bomb attack upon that .
Holy Ones Slaughtered
‘Rape and kill everybody. Burn it. Destroy,’ were Abiy Ahmed’s orders to 92 truckloads of 3-month-trained thugs that he dubbed Airborne, giving them red berets. His excuse was the usual one: ousting the Amhara People’s Force, although the monastery did not harbour them and was peaceful .
200 clergy were murdered, shot in the back of the head with hands tied behind their backs. A monk survived the slaughter and filmed corpses dumped in bush 100 km away to hide evidence of war crime. He released the footage worldwide .
Government thugs killed oxen and cows for meat, machine-gunning the rest rather than leave behind still alive what they could not steal.
The prime minister’s forces piled up priceless heritage and burned it: 1800-year-old birana or goatskin books, including Audegenist and bibles, and wooden crosses from tree species no longer on the planet. They destroyed the unique water-supply and -preservation system. Nobody knew how it operated nor how the fifteenth century engineer-monks built it .
A disabled woman walked toward government forces that showered her with machine guns.
Holy water pilgrims, at Debre Elias for healing, were murdered including 5 girls and 2 boys.
61 TPLF-war orphans vanished from pillaged Debre Elias Monastery. They were the brightest of children. Are they in Swedish laboratories?
More Attacks on Amhara Orthodox
In June, Abiy Ahmed’s soldiers killed 300 Ethiopian clergy in Amhara regions, mainly Orthodox priests as peaceful as worshippers filmed here in North Shewa . Antisemitic hate crimes increased against priests .
Special forces attacked a female monastery in Gojjam with mortar. It is not yet known how many of its 200 women died.
By August 05 in Gojjam alone, Abiy Ahmed’s forces had murdered 540 monks.
In a mortar and drone attack on approximately August 10 at Bahir Dar, Gojjam, the government destroyed a significant section of Giyorgis Monastery. The worst affected part was the meregeta or traditional healing section; many sick citizens seeking treatment died.
Around August 12, also in Bahir Dar, Kidane Mihret Church with its abundant stained glass was attacked by government mortar. On Kidane Mihret Day in 2020, a 7-year-old had proudly taken ianet’s hand to give her a tour of her place of worship. Where is the little girl today?
On September 07, south in Gurage, government troops burned 13 churches, lying that clergy had caused girls to sicken. Ethiopia’s leaders aimed to foment discord between Christians, Jews and Muslims. An Orthodox regional pope said, ‘Hitler is reborn.’
Lalibela Rock-Hewn Churches
Airborne bombed 2 monasteries that are part of the Lalibela Rock-Hewn Churches system, yet where’s UNESCO? The attacks killed 61 monks, each a scholar.
On August 24, they split Beta Gabriel with a missile. This also put the other 11 interconnected monasteries at risk while endangering 5,000-year-old goatskin books. During the following days, Medhane Alem Monastery with its cross-motif windows was also bombed. The 8th wonder of the world was barraged for the 2nd time in 2 years.
Abiy Ahmed unleashed foreign mercenaries upon Lalibela. They fired ZU-23 shoulder missiles at the mountainside monastery Asheton Maryam because they sought its birana or goatskin books, Ethiopia’s oldest collection. To get at Fano Amhara forces, they fired 27 missiles into the Semien Mountains.
To fire a drone or long-range missile requires 4 military experts. Precision military calculations and secret codes are essential. This suggests the presence of foreign hands.
In a single day at various other places, Oromo forces burned 13 Jewish churches.
Mosques Burned and Muslims Attacked
In late May, Abiy Ahmed destroyed 19 mosques in and around Addis Ababa, and more soon after. He then killed Muslim protesters. Arabic nations spoke out about the atrocities. And when Muslims prayed at the grand mosque in Merkato, Addis Ababa, security forces killed 11, plus 9 during another Juma.
On June 28 in Kombulcha, Welo, Muslims celebrated Eid al-Adha. Abiy Ahmed’s henchmen terrorised them with tear gas and bombs.
By mid-July, Abiy Ahmed had destroyed 23 mosques, 16 churches, 3 Orthodox monasteries and 2 Jewish places of worship in and around Addis Ababa.
Near Gfirrse Dam, west of the city, he destroyed 5 more mosques and 16 churches.
State of Emergency Arrests
From November 2022, when 4,000 peaceful Amhara were arrested, the threat of detention in inhumane conditions is especially great for urban Amhara. Since May 2023, 20,000 intellectual Amhara were imprisoned, neither for wrongdoing nor provocation. Artists as well as Amhara journalists filled makeshift prisons and concentration camps.
Having declared a state of emergency, Oromo police arrested anybody they wanted in Addis Ababa, mainly peaceful ethnic Amhara. Locals estimate 3,000 were detained in August .
In August, youth that eked out a small living as street sellers in Piassa, Addis Ababa, were arrested. Kept in death camp conditions on a piece of bread daily, hundreds died. Healers were barred from photographing them. The government hid evidence of its inhumanity by burying them en masse 240 kilometres out of the city.
If a person had too many proficiencies, they would be arrested. The ability to weld, draw and perform auto mechanics, with skill in animal husbandry, gets you into trouble with the prime minister, who overrates himself. In some news reports, Abiy Ahmed has the red beret of Airborne. However, he was never a member of that elite force.
Canadian writer Jeff Pearce advocated defiant action. He cites Gojjam artist Filagot Abraham, who depicted herself with a bullet hole in forehead and lips sewn shut. In June, Abiy Ahmed imprisoned her along with Gumma Film Awards event organiser Yonas Birhane Mewa .
The consequences of imprisonment for Ethiopians are virtually fatal. On September 03 at the concentration camp Awash Arba in Afar, 800 Amhara prisoners died unsheltered in 50-degree heat.
During the past 6 months of persecution of Amhara and their supporters, Abiy Ahmed’s government has introduced infectious diseases to concentration camps and prisons. These include cholera and dysentery. Vast numbers of Amhara prisoners are dying, at best wrapped in canvas before burial at Awash Arba, another prison and military training camp. Embassies around Addis Ababa do not speak out about this.
In late September, at Woldia in Welo, government forces committed atrocities against detainees including wounded Fano fighter Mola Melaku .
When citizens have no choice but to seek asylum outside the motherland, their circumstances change yet remain dire. Ethiopian Jews inevitably face antisemitism wherever they go. At home, the prime minister’s righthand man said, ‘Jews are toxic.’ Transit nations may practise deadly forms of antisemitism.
On approximately August 24, Saudi Arabians killed 201 Ethiopian refugees, mainly Jewish Amhara. They arrested diaspora activist Suleiman Abdell .
Some Falasha or Beta Israel have been airlifted to Israel, but most of those attacked by the Ethiopian government have become internally displaced persons . Since Abiy Ahmed’s declaration of war, still more have fled government attacks .
A million Ethiopian refugees are in warring Sudan, having fled TPLF, Shene and government forces. In April, more than 200 civilians were killed in a bomb blast; 41 of those were Ethiopians. It is 40 degrees C and water is off in Khartoum. Untrained militia have raped tens of thousands of Sudanese women. For Ramadan, both sides requested a 24-hour truce, which US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stopped.
42 refugees died in wildfires at the Greek border in late August. Some were Ethiopian.
Around 13 September in Yemen, Oromo killed 29 Amhara Ethiopians that the prime minister had refused to repatriate.
In Addis Ababa, the government has turned 27 schools into gaols for political prisoners, mostly Amhara. They include one of the oldest, the 1906 Menelik Preparatory School for Higher Education. It holds 11,000 prisoners.
A gracious building that I visited 3 years ago with dedicated teachers is now gaol holding 800 prisoners. What of the quiet, bright, respectful adolescents’ futures? 90 years ago, Ethiopians scarcely knew prisons.
As of late May, the prime minister stopped the salaries of Amhara teachers.
During the TPLF war, 1,300,000 defence force soldiers were wounded. Some lost limbs or eyes. Serious injuries cost Ethiopia today. Now, the prime minister orders the shooting of wounded soldiers. Not even Hitler did that.
The prime minister did not attend the UN Africa Climate Summit held in Nairobi September 08, 2023.
He also refused to attend the UN’s September Peace Talks in Geneva. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that delegates knew what he was doing to Amhara. He delivered his message in Amharic, the choice of language offending the prime minister, who needs to keep up with positive trends internationally. Amharic is taught at international universities including Pittsburgh, at Washington, Princeton, Toronto, Hamburg and London. Some also offer courses in Ge’ez, yet only 7 per cent of Ethiopians speak and write Ge’ez, which was never taught for 33 years and suppressed for 50 years. Recently, Moscow schools have introduced Amharic language courses .
Extra sanctions imposed by the US harm Amhara, who create exports such as traditional handmade clothing and pottery. Ironically, sanctions also mean that US rednecks have no supply of their favourite Ethiopian coffee.
Comment on Persecution
Portuguese European Union politician Ana Gomez said that such persecution has not been seen since Hitler.
President Kennedy kissed Emperor Haile Selassie I knee, so esteemed was the Ethiopian leadership before the Derg. Ethiopians had high hopes when the government changed in 2018. However, most high-level officials’ qualifications were falsified, putting them among the more ridiculous of world leaders .
Would they know about the build-up to Hitler’s Final Solution: sending 6 million European Jews to death camps and gas chambers? It began with sporadic savagery against business owners, workplace dismissals, curfews, restrictions on travel, and relocations into overcrowded ghettoes following evictions. Ethiopia’s Falasha are too familiar with these tactics. Having read this post, do you feel that the world is revisiting the past?
We respond to the events of the past 6 months in our next post “The April War on Amhara”.
Anybody with more information on atrocities unleashed upon Amhara by Shene or Abiy Ahmed’s forces and foreign mercenaries is welcome to add a comment below.
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 Tadesse, Yuri. “Footage of Drone Attacks
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 Abbay News. October 06, 2023 (Amharic)
 ZeHabesha. “Horrendous OLF-Shene Attack Massacred Amhara (Amharic)
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 Woldeyes, Yirga Gelaw. “Ethiopia’s Amhara People are Being Portrayed
 Kassa, Lucy. “Ethiopian Troops Accused of Mass Killings
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Orthodoxy Daily News. “Today in Ethiopia, the government forces bombed the oldest monastery of Debre Elias in Gojjam as part of the government’s operation to attack the Amhara People’s Force”. May 30, 2023, 1:50 a.m. https://twitter.com/OrthodoxyNews/status/1663241381333041160
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Tadesse, Yuri. “Footage of Drone attacks on Unarmed Civilians in Finote Selam, Amhara Region”. October 03, 2023, 6:41 a.m. https://twitter.com/tadesse_yuri/status/1708975584569594205https://twitter.com/home
Tadesse, Yuri. [Massacre of Monks in Debre Elias Monastery in Amhara Region]. June 08, 2023, 5:04 a.m. https://twitter.com/tadesse_yuri/status/1666551694270840835
Tadesse, Yuri. “Violation of Article 23 c of the Hague Convention IV (1907)”. September 30, 2023, 7:19 a.m. https://twitter.com/tadesse_yuri/status/1707897917971878380
Tana Gedamu. [About Debre Elias Monasteries and Abiy. Zemedkunbekele]. June 01, 2023. YouTube video, 10:00. https://youtu.be/z6s73BVARmA
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Woldeyes, Yirga Gelaw. “Ethiopia’s Amhara People are Being Portrayed as the Enemy: The Dangerous History of Ethnic Politics”. The Conversation. September 06, 2023. https://theconversation.com/ethiopias-amhara-people-are-being-portrayed-as-the-enemy-the-dangerous-history-of-ethnic-politics-212626
ZeHabesha. “Horrendous OLF-Shene Attack Massacred Amhara in West Ethiopia: Government”. Human Rights. November 02, 2020. https://zehabesha.com/horrendous-olf-shene-attack-massacred-ethnic-amhara-in-west-ethiopia-government/
Ethiopia-1501-0087_xlarge.jpg © africaimagelibrary
Bahir Dar Ethiopia © Mesfin Tadesse 2020
Belay Zeleq Statue in Bahir Dar © Mesfin Tadesse 2020
Dib Anbesa Hotel in Bahir Dar © ianet Bastyan 2020
Ethio Forum. Tef. September 28, 2023. https://foodtank.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Final_Tef.jpg
Monk at Adam’s Tunnel Entrance, Lalibela © Mesfin Tadesse 2017
Bete Medhane Alem, 1 of Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela © Mesfin Tadesse 2017
Tewodros II of Ethiopia. Neurdein, Étienne. “Past to Present”. Public Domain.https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=72903290