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Fresh security problem reported in Benishangul Gumuz region of Ethiopia

Federal police force and Ethiopian Defense Forces deployed to Meteke Zone of Benishangul Gumuz region as fresh rounds of security problem arise in the region.

benishangul Gumuz  - Security _ Ethiopia
Google map of Benishangul Gumuz and the region

July 8, 2019

A new round of violence reported in the Benishangul Gumuz region, in the northwestern part of Ethiopia. According to a report by Amhara Mass Media Agency ( AMMA) on Monday,  it is now taking a form of ethnic-based conflict as was the case in many of the violence that happened in the region in recent years. 

The violence happened in Metekel Zone Mandurah district, the region’s peace-building and security office has told AMMA. 

People are killed in the violence but the number and identities of the victims are not disclosed yet. 

Based on an eyewitness account, as reported by AMMA, the latest string of violence “started on Saturday when an ethnic Guzum woman was hit by a car and another Gumuz man was attacked in his own home.”  The incidents triggered ethnic-based violence, according to community members who spoke to AMMA. 

AMMA also cited Gumuz community members to report that Ethio-Telecom security guard was attacked – seemingly on the same day. 

Who is responsible for those attacks is unclear as there are no further details from AMMA report. 

What is known is that an organized and armed group entered Mandura district of Metekel zone from four directions and unleashed attacks. But the identity of the armed group and its political motive is unknown.  

Community members  also told AMMA that a security force was deployed to the area but  did not act to control the situation on grounds that “it was not given an order.”  Who ordered this security force to be deployed to the region is unclear. 

Community members threaten to evacuate the district if an order is not given the security forces deployed in the region to control the situation, added AMMA’s report.

Ato Abera Bayeta who is head of Benishangul Gumuz region peacebuilding and security office has confirmed that lives are lost in the conflict and property damaged. He also said that people who sustained wounds during the attack are in a hospital. His account of how the security problem started in the region is different. He is quoted by AMMA as saying “an attack was launched on the deputy of  Genete Mariam Kebele and firearms were looted.” 

He also confirmed that Federal and regional police, as well as members of the Ethiopian Defense, are deployed to the region and that they are all working in coordination to control the security situation in the region.

Benishangul Gumuz region has been affected by recurring ethnic-based violence mostly affecting ethnic Amhara community. Following the killings of three Amhara region leaders on June 22, 2019,   more than fifty ethnic Amhara people are reportedly killed in Benishangul region. 

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  1. The Amara region’s security chief with full force must assist the Benishangul Gumuz region now , just so more refugee crisis and displacements do not happen in the Benishangul Gumuz region, which will be an ireversable migration for most.


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