More than 80 civilians killed in new attacks in western Ethiopia, rights group says

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More than 80 civilians have died in the latest attack in an area of ​​western Ethiopia that has seen appalling recurrent violence in recent months, the national human rights commission said on Wednesday.

“We have received reports that more than 80 civilians were killed on January 12 in an area called Daletti” in Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz region, Aaron Maasho, adviser and spokesperson for the Commission told TBEN. Ethiopian Human Rights (EHRC).

The village of Daletti is located in the Metekel region, where hundreds of civilians were killed by assailants using guns, knives and other weapons in attacks dating back to at least September.

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Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed struggled to impose order on Metekel or explain what is behind the violence, despite his visit to the region in December and the authorization of a command post to there. take charge of security.

There is no known link between violence and military operations in Ethiopia’s northernmost region of Tigray, where Abiy sent troops in November to arrest and disarm leaders of the region’s ruling dissident party.

Tuesday’s attack in Metekel took place between 5 and 7 a.m., with victims aged two to 45, Aaron said.

The EHRC, an independent body affiliated with the government, is “still looking for further details on the perpetrators” and how the victims were killed, he said.

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Opposition politicians described the violence in Metekel as ethnically motivated, alleging a targeted campaign by ethnic Gumuz militias against members of other ethnic groups in the region, including the Amhara, Ethiopia’s second largest group.

A survivor of Tuesday’s attack, Ahmed Yimam, told TBEN on Wednesday he had counted 82 bodies and 22 people were injured.

“The attack was carried out mainly using knives, although arrows and guns were also used,” he said.

“I fear more attacks because the perpetrators are not punished and there is no functioning government at the local and regional level,” he said.

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State-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported on Monday that “relative peace has been restored to Metekel” due to the government’s response to the violence, but Aaron of the EHRC said on Wednesday that something had to be done. more.

“These civilians have barely had a break from such sinister attacks for months. We once again call on federal and regional authorities to strengthen their coordination in responding to such incidents to avoid loss of life in Benishangul -Gumuz, ”he said.

“We remind the authorities that the protection of civilians is the government’s first duty.”

(TBEN)

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