Armed assailants killed more than 200 people in an attack in Gimbi District, West Wellega Zone, Oromia Region, June 18. While no group immediately claimed responsibility for the assault, Ethiopian governmental authorities and witnesses have blamed the attack on the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) rebel group; the OLA has denied the accusations and has instead claimed that government-aligned forces carried out the assault. Most of those killed were ethnic Amhara individuals.
A heightened security presence is almost certain to be deployed in the area over the coming days. Similar attacks are likely in the West Wellega Zone over the medium term.
Ethiopia faces internal threats to stability from rebels affiliated with the OLA, an insurgent group actively involved in military operations against the federal government in southern and western Oromia and the North Shewa Zone. The government has blamed these fighters for sporadic bomb attacks and heavy clashes with armed forces. The Ethiopian parliament designated the OLA as a terrorist group in 2021 following its alliance with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Consider avoiding nonessential travel to Gimbi District until the situation has stabilized. Liaise with trusted contacts and local government officials before traveling to the West Wellega Zone. Avoid large crowds and refrain from traveling at night. Heed the directives of security forces. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.