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Oromo regional state says 70,000 displaced due to violence in Benshangul

Authorities in Oromo region of Ethiopia say number of people displaced over 70,000.

Keffa Zone _ Ethiopia
Source : Google Map

October 2,2018

Oromo regional state authorities says that over 70,000 people are displaced this week in connection with violence along Benshangul and Oromo regional state border areas, according to a report by DW Amharic today.

Zelalem Jaleta, Benshangul Gumuz regional state communication head, reportedly confirmed the death of 44 people (16 from Benshangul region and 28 from Oromo regional state) while stating that the number could rise. With regard to the number of displaced people, he is cited as saying that 20,000 people are displaced which is much lower than the figure from Oromo regional state. However, he pointed out that the number could be higher as people are displaced from Oromo region adjacent to Benshangul region as well.

Other sources say that the attack is of ethnic-based nature and has affected ethnic-Amhara and ethnic-Oromos, among others, who constitute the bulk of displaced people from the region since last week.

Ethiopian government has deployed defense force to the region to control the situation but Benshanul regional authorities claim that the situation is still tense and they want the federal government to deploy more forces as the situation is “beyond their control.”

Tension started in the region last week after four security authorities of Kamashi zone of Benshangul region were killed in Ghimbi, Wollega region. They were allegedly killed by gunmen who appear to be members of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Rural Political Mobilization Head of Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), the party that governs Oromo region, Addisu Arega, requested Oromo Liberation Front in a social media update yesterday to order its fighters to the military camps.

Another crisis in Keffa Zone, South Ethiopia

In a similar development, “unidentified gunmen” reportedly killed at least 15 people today in Keffa Zone, South Ethiopia, according to a report by Ethiopian Satellite Television which cited authorities from the locality. The source also reported that there has been repeated attack in the past three days.

ESAT says that it spoke to Chairman of Bulkabul kebele, Tadele, on the phone who said that there have been similar attacks in the past two years but magnitude of the attack was increasing this week.

Ethiopian government media outlets have not reported about this incident. The Federal government has not yet issued a statement regarding the situations in Keffa and Benshangul region.

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