“They killed infants, children, women and the elderly,” resident Ahmed Kasim said. The Amhara Association of America said the dead include a 100-year-old and a one-month-old baby, and some people were killed in a mosque where they had tried to hide.

The heavily armed men appeared around the small farming village in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, frightening residents already on edge after recent clashes between government troops and rebels.

“The militants assured us that they will not touch us. They said they are not after us,” resident Nur Hussein Abdi told The Associated Press. “But in reality, they were surrounding our whole village for a deadly massacre. What happened the next day was a total bloodbath.”

Abdi escaped by hiding on a rooftop, a horrified witness to one of the worst mass killings in Ethiopia in recent years. Hundreds of people, mostly ethnic Amhara, were slaughtered in Tole village and the surroundings on June 18 in the latest explosion of ethnic violence in Africa’s second most populous nation.

Multiple witnesses told the AP they are still discovering bodies, with some put in mass graves containing scores of people. The Amhara Association of America said it has confirmed 503 civilians killed. Ethiopian authorities have not released figures. One witness, Mohammed Kemal, said he has witnessed 430 bodies buried, and others are still exposed and decomposing.

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