A rare armed attack in Bekoji town located in the Arsi zone of Ethiopia’s Oromia region has left four people dead, the thrice weekly Addis Ababa based newspaper Ethiopian Reporter disclosed on Wednesday.
Bekoji, a normally peaceful sleepy town located 221 kilometers southeast of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa is hometown of at least eight Olympic medalists including Derartu Tulu, Ethiopian multiple Olympics medalist.
Derartu who retired from competitive sports in the early 2010s currently acts as President of Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF).
Citing anonymous eyewitnesses, Ethiopian Reporter disclosed the armed attack which went on for several hours last Friday evening was aimed at freeing prisoners from a local prison.
The eyewitnesses reportedly told Ethiopian Reporter journalist that four people including two local security forces were killed in the attack which also managed to free scores of prisoners.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, though the eyewitnesses cited by Ethiopian Reporter report said it was likely carried out by Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) militants.
The OLA which is currently listed as a terrorist group by the Ethiopian government is frequently accused of carrying out attacks on government as well as civilian targets. OLA denies the charge of deliberately attacking civilian targets.
Last month, the Ethiopian government sat for peace talks for the first time with OLA in the east African nation of Tanzania.
The “first round” of talks ended in disagreement, though both sides have recently said they’re committed to further peace talks in the future.
However, since that period there seems to be an intensification of fighting between OLA militants and government security forces as well as targeted attacks by suspected OLA militants.
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