Addis Ababa: The death toll from a recent suspected Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) rebel group attack is at least 338, said an Ethiopian official on Thursday.
Speaking to journalists, Billene Seyoum, a press secretary for the Office of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed, said the data she received from Ethiopia's Oromia region as of Wednesday confirmed at least 338 victims from the recent attack. An armed attack on mainly ethnic Amhara farmers on June 18 in Tole rural locality of Gimbi district, West Wollega zone of Oromia region, reportedly left a large number of civilians dead.
Ethiopian government officials and survivors have accused OLA fighters of carrying out the weekend attack, a charge the rebel group has denied.
Seyoum said the Ethiopian army has boosted its security operations against OLA rebels following the deadly attack. She also said Ethiopia's peace and security are being challenged by internal actors colluding with external actors.
OLA is a breakaway armed faction of an ex-rebel group Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).
The OLA is estimated to have around 3,000 fighters, operating in the western and southern parts of Oromia regional state, the principal homeland of ethnic Oromos who make up around 35 percent of Ethiopia's total population.
In May 2021, the Ethiopian parliament voted to designate the OLA as a terrorist group.