17 banks were robbed in Oromia region over the weekend, in one of the largest cash robberies in Ethiopia history, reports say.

The first incident was on Saturday when eleven banks were raided and robbed and their properties damaged in Western Oromia and Qellem Wellega, according to West Wellega Zone administrator, Gemechis Temesgen who told BBC Amharic about it.

A gang of gunmen raided and robbed the Ethiopian Commercial Bank, Cooperative Bank of Oromia, United Bank and Awash Bank at 11:00 a.m., all at the same time, before fleeing the scene in their vehicles with an undisclosed haul of cash, he said. Other six banks were robbed on Sunday at 11:00 a.m., according to Tamene Hailu, administrator of Qellem who spoke to DW Amharic, making this an astonishing heist.

The officials said the banks were robbed and damaged, some of them completely devastated. ATMs and computers were blown up. The assailants then fled, reportedly grabbing four hostages on their way. The two were later freed, according to the officials. Officials in Oromia region claimed the robbery was perpetrated by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).

Recently, OLF have been accusing of the Abiy Ahmed for breach of the peace accord signed by the two groups in Asmara on August aimed at encouraging the organisation to return to formal politics. The government has called for OLF fighters to immediately disarm, and says some of them have been carrying out crimes.



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