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Benishangul Gumuz latest round of attack claimed lives

Just like Oromo region, Benishangul Gumuz is the part of Ethiopia where ethnic Amhara experienced recurring attacks and killings.

Benishangul _ Ethiopia
Google map of Ethiopia.

September 16, 2020

Ethnic-Amharas and Agews in the Benishangul region of Ethiopia had reportedly experienced another round of attack. It happened this week in Bulen and Wonbera districts of the region.

The region’s peacebuilding and security office head Abera Bayatta confirmed to Ethiopian State media that the attack in the above mentioned places have claimed the lives of innocent citizens but did not specify the number. It is unclear why the authorities were unable to provide information about the number of casualties a day after the attack.

The attack was launched by armed groups. Some were armed with firearms like AK 47. Others were armed with spears.

DW Amharic said on Wednesday that it spoke to a resident from Gilgel Beles area -who spoke anonymously due to security concerns. They said that the attackers were armed with heavy weaponry. 

The informant also claimed that the perpetrators carried out the attack in the broad daylight and speculated that they could have links to government officials in the region. “The attackers change their location as soon as security forces are deployed to the areas where they carried out the attack,” is the explanation given to the claim about a link with government officials, as reported by DW Amharic.

Security authorities in the region said on Wednesday that an investigation is launched to determine the security incident this week.

Abara Bayata, Benishangul region head of security office, told Ethiopian News Agency that the armed group inflicted heavy casualties in Bulen and Wombera districts. He linked the group with opposition parties operating in the region.  “Opposition political parties operating in the region provided them with military training,” he said.

In Melkan Kebele of the district, the armed group detained 36 people and demanded 20,000 Ethiopian birr per person and the detainee had to pay it, Mr. Abera told ENA.

The source also said that members of the Defense Force were deployed to the region. An unspecified number of attackers are reportedly killed by joint operation of security forces and the defense force. 

However, the region’s security authorities admitted that the armed groups are not eliminated and are still operating in the region. This may mean another round of attack on ethnic-Amhara and ethnic-Agews living in the region.

Thousands of residents in the districts had been displaced in connection with the latest string of attacks. 

There had been a recurring attack against ethnic Amharas in Benishangul region. The most recent was in July 2020 which left at least 14 Ethiopians dead.

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