SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: November 03, 2021

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Bahir Dar University

Region & Country:Eastern Africa | Ethiopia

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On November 3, 2021, unidentified gunmen killed Bahir Dar University chemistry professor Meareg Amare, a member of the Tigrayan ethnic community, just outside his home after he returned from campus.

Amare was returning from campus after delivering paperwork related to his coming retirement when gunmen opened fire on him as he exited his vehicle.

This incident occurred amidst fighting between militants with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and government forces. The fighting has exacerbated ethnic tensions, including on higher education campuses, and reportedly resulted in arrests of scholars based on their ethnic background.

As of this report, SAR has not confirmed the identities of the gunmen; however, one journalist writing in the Italian newspaper Faro di Roma referred to perpetrators as members of an armed group that backs Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government forces.

Scholars at Risk is gravely concerned by the apparently targeted killing of a scholar and offers condolences to the victim’s family, friends, and colleagues. State authorities should take available steps to respond to and prevent such incidents, including by carrying out investigations and holding perpetrators responsible. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, targeted killings of scholars undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.