ESAT has received reports that a heavy fighting broke out between self-organized Tepi Youth freedom fighters and Ethiopian security forces on October 27-28, 2015 night. The incident occurred when the Ethiopian security forces started harassing women and elderly for supporting rebel groups operating in the area.
According to an eyewitness, after learning the security forces started harassing the villagers, the Tepi freedom fighters took a swift action by attacking the Ethiopian security forces at Korcha Hibret Kebele, 7 kms from Tepi.
20 government soldiers and two rebels were reportedly killed during the fighting. The deceased, government soldiers were loaded on 4 vehicles.
The group made the names of the two deceased soldiers public. Abraham Feyissa and Zerihun Bassa were inhumanely dragged in the town to scare off other youth from joining freedom fighters.
ESAT could not verify the number of casualties from other independent sources. However, eyewitnesses said that they were scared when they heard the exchange of fire throughout the night.
soldiers have been deployed in the area to control the frustration and anger of the public which has become a talking point among residents.
The local people have started fleeing their homes, for they were scared the government could take retaliatory measures. “We are leaving their homes due to the harassment by Ethiopian security forces,” a resident told ESAT on the phone. Currently several people are believed to be under custody.
In a letter sent to ESAT the group spokesman indicated that the freedom fighters would continue taking severe measures if the government would not stop harassing the local residents.
ESAT in June 2015 reported that two members of youth group members and 33 government soldiers were killed during an attack in Tepi.
It has been over a year since the youth in Tepi have started raising questions about their rights.