The bodies of five Chamo men were found in a mass grave in Ethiopia’s southern part of Lilongwe

Malawi police find more bodies near mass grave that contained 25 Ethiopians killed by rebels in 2002, says government source

By Peter Symonds

30 March 2004

The discovery of five more bodies during a three-day search of the mass grave in the village of Chakecha near the town of Kapolwiri, in the southern part of the country’s main capital Lilongwe, has stirred concern.

The bodies were found in the early hours of Tuesday at a site where the bodies of 25 Ethiopians had earlier been buried, most of them after a bloody two-week war against the ruling army in 2002, and whose anniversary has been marked every year with the firing of a cannon.

The site, set in a hilly valley near the town of Kapolwiri, had been selected for the killings as part of an agreement between the Ethiopian Government and the rebels to hand over the village to the government in return for protection against attacks from the rebels.

The agreement was signed in January 2002 and an Ethiopian soldier, Narsing Lameen, was due to be killed on Feb. 25.

However, the Lameen affair, which took place against the background of an intensification of the ethnic fighting, was never reported.

The Chakecha killings

On Jan. 26, Lameen, who was from Sidamo in Ethiopia’s south, was due to be executed by firing squad as part of a plan to capture an Ethiopian rebel base in Chakecha.

When the plan failed, Lameen was arrested and taken to the village, where he was given an injection of a lethal injection. A group of soldiers then surrounded the building and opened fire with rubber bullets, killing Lameen.

When the soldiers later broke in, they found the bodies of five ethnic Chamo men, two of whom – a driver and an owner of a small car repair shop – were already dead. According to eyewitnesses, the men were shot to death in the building where they were found. The Chamo men were buried in the village next to the grave of two Ethiopian soldiers who had been killed there earlier, according to the witnesses.

Ethiopiani sources in Lilongwe and Kapolwiri say that an incident is being investigated to ascertain what happened to the five Chamo men.

Earlier, the Daily News reported that

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