Editor’s note : The following content is a press release from Amhara Association of America regarding the massacre in Benishangul Gumuz region
Amhara Association of America
September 17, 2020
Targeted attacks against Amharas have occurred again in Benishangul-Gumez Region of Ethiopia. Amhara Association of America (AAA) has received reports that 89 people mainly Amhara/Agew have been killed by Gumez militias in an attack spanning several days starting September 4. We are still collecting information, but here is what we have learned from our sources in Ethiopia:
The attacks were carried out in three kebeles (sub-districts) of the Bulen District, Metekel Zone, by a militia comprised of ethnic Gumuz (which comprise about 34% of the population in Bulen). The militias seized the victims from their homes during the night in three kebeles (Eipare, Koshe Gonjie and Moji) and took them to Eipare primary school. The militias handcuffed the victims, took them one by one to a shed they built nearby, and then shot them execution-style. Some were apparently killed in other locations for refusing to be taken to the school.
AAA has identified 37 victims from the Eibare Kebele (see the list below). The 89 victims across Bulen District include 5 Shinasha (largest ethnic group in Bulen) who opposed the Gumuz militia’s actions. Another 20 people were wounded and are being treated in a hospital in Bulen, while an additional 80 people are “unaccounted for” by the local government. Approximately 1,200 people across 239 households have been displaced in these districts and are currently sheltered in a meeting hall in Bulen Township (capital of the district).
The victims were displaced from their homes in these kebeles in March 2020 by unknown assailants but were resettled back to their homes in June by the government. The Gumez militia told their victims in this attack that they are being killed for not respecting their order to leave “their (Benishangul) region”. The regional government responded first to this attack by censoring information by limiting data and cellular services but has now deployed the federal army after information started spreading beyond the Region.
This latest attack follows similar attacks against Amharas in Metekel zone of Benishangul in July. Examples include:
• On July 27th, Gumez militiamen killed 14 Amharas and wounded six in Jadia Kebele, Guba District of Metekel Zone.
• On July 31st, armed Gumez militia mounted an attack in Alemhal Kebele of Guba woreda, Metekel Since the attack was during the day the targeted Amharas managed to save their lives but their houses and properties were set ablaze and more than 2500 Amharas in the area (Alemhal, Kota, Mankush) flee for their life.
• On August 25th, Gumez militiamen went to a house of Neguse Tesfa in Ayesad, and wounded his wife (Dafash) and killed his daughter (Yeneguse).
• On September 2nd, armed militia groups killed farmer Aschalew and two youngsters who were herding cattle (Gezahegn and Habtam) and took more than 50 animals.
• On September 8th, Gumez militia mounted similar attacks in Aygalie kebele and killed the following Amharas:
- Daso Abera
- Addisu Senbeta
- Tilahun Abebe
- Mekuraia Abebe
- W/o Mantegebosh
Given the increasing frequency of the attacks in B-G and the regional government’s refusal to acknowledge until information about these attacks have been leaked, there seems to be implicit permission by the local authorities for this violence to occur.
List of Victims from the Eibare Kebele
One of the survivors, Ato Setotaw Awoke lost four family members and three employees:
- Yeserash Gessese- his wife
- Ayenew Setotaw-son
- Belesti Setotaw-son
- Eyersualem Setotaw- daughter
- Ebababey Lake-employee
- Niguessie – employee
Additional names of individuals killed:
- Yetayesh Mihret and her newborn triples
- Ato Bisahw and his six other family members
- Bekele and his six family members
- Workayehu Tefera
- Abebayehu Asferawu
- Tejitu Tadese
- Dagnachew Zewdu
- Bezaiwt Abebe
- Abebe Ekadalamewu
We are asking anyone who has information regarding this tragedy to please email AAA at info@AmharaAmerica.org.
Note: This report has been shared with international human rights organizations, U.S. Congressional officials, State Department, and media.
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