Last month, at least 16 people from the Amhara ethnic group were killed during a brutal attack on the village of Arkumbi Kebele in the Oromo region of Ethiopia.
Last month, over three days, more than 700 houses were burned, at least 23 people were killed, per Fox News. 27,000 Amharas were forced out of six other surrounding villages.
The Amhara are the second-largest ethnic group in the country. Until 1991 the Amhara dominated the political world in Ethiopia despite the Oromo being the largest ethnic group. This has led to decades of disharmony.
The Amhara militia and special forces have been crucial in the war campaign against the (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) TPLF. Large parts of western and southern parts of Tigray are currently incorporated under the Amhara control.
For months, the conflict has been heightened due to the ongoing tension between Ethiopia and the northern region of Tigray.
Amhara civilians caught in the crossfire.
In November, Amnesty International reported that at least 54 Amhara were killed in an attack by suspected members of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) armed group.
On Monday, the State Department forcefully denounced the “human rights violations, abuses, and atrocities” occurring in Tigray. The Biden administration also announced that those “responsible for, or complicit in, undermining resolution of the crisis in Tigray,” would suffer via restrictions.
The violence has deeply impacted the Amhara, but Biden is yet to acknowledge them publicly.
Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa and five Democratic senators led by Maryland Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin called on the administration to speak on the human rights abuses occurring outside of Tigray.
“We must be unequivocal in stating that violence against civilians anywhere, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or politics, is a threat to Ethiopians everywhere and will not go unanswered,” the letter, written on April 29, read.
The administration was also called out by the Chairman of the Amhara Association, Tewodrose Tirfe. Tewodrose Cardin’s letter was the “first time that members of Congress addressed the humanitarian crisis outside of the Tigray region.
“We are really concerned that Congress is not really doing its duty in its oversight role of the executive branch,” Tewodrose said. “Many Ethiopian-Americans do not believe [the State Department] has a holistic Ethiopian policy. It is narrowly focused.
The State Department refutes Tewodrose’s claims.
“We have repeatedly raised our concerns at the highest levels about violence and abuses along ethnic lines occurring throughout Ethiopia, including against Amharan people,” said a department spokesperson.