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HomeEthiopian NewsBench Sheko Gura Farda massacre:at least 31 innocent civilians killed

Bench Sheko Gura Farda massacre:at least 31 innocent civilians killed

. Head of the Bench Sheko zone administration described the Gura Farda attack as “Shameful and ruthless”
. The had been attacks on ethnic-Amhara during the TPLF dominated administration too

October 23, 2020

At least 31 innocent civilians had been brutally massacred this week in the Gura Farda district of Bench Sheko zone in Southern Ethiopia. Five other people have reportedly sustained serious injuries.

As is the case in the Benishangul Gumuz and Oromo region of Ethiopia, the targets of the latest attacks are said to be ethnic Amhara who settled in the region for decades.

Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Amhara in the region are reportedly displaced following the tragic incident and taking refugees in nearby districts like Biftu.

The police department in the zone had confirmed the killing and the attackers are described as “unidentified gunmen.” 

Fikre Aman, head of Bench Sheko zone administration, said that “unidentified men opened fire on innocent civilians,” on October 18 and October 21. He said the attack was ruthless and shameful.

He also said that so far 16 suspects are detained including one police and district and zone level officials, as reported by Bench Media Network which cited the zone’s administration as a source.

Police Commander of the Zone, Minalu Tadesse, portrayed the week just before the attack was launched. He said there had been unusual activity since October 16. The attack was a coordinated one, according to the Commander.  But he said that the motive of the attack is not established, and the police have launched an investigation into it.

The administration also confirmed that over 2600 households from Gura Farda are currently taking refuge in Biftu and neighboring kebeles, and it is claimed that the displaced people are getting emergency humanitarian aid.

The Federal Police and Ethiopian Defense Forces are deployed to the region. 

Speaker of the House remark on the massacre

Speaker of the House of Representative Tagese Chafo, along with Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Defense Force and State Minister in the Ministry of Peace, visited Bench Sheko Zone.

He held a discussion with residents in the region. “The government will not tolerate those who are working to destabilize the country and disintegrate the unity of the country,” is what he remarked.

It had become customary for Abiy Ahmed’s government officials to visit scenes of massacres in the aftermath of a tragedy and pledge that ‘the government would work to resolve the problem.”

It was said during the discussion with residents that the perpetrators of the coordinated attack were “trained and organized groups.”  It is, however, undisclosed as to who is behind these forces and where they were trained.

Government cover-ups of attacks on ethnic Amharas

From the recurring attacks in different parts of Ethiopia including Benishangul Gumuz and the Oromo region, ethnic Amharas are the primary targets of coordinated attacks. However, government authorities demonstrated commitment to cover-up the nature of the attacks.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government is widely criticized for non-stop violent attacks on civilians since he took power in April 2018. When he appeared to the parliament on Monday this week, he downplayed the recurring attacks when he said that “A traffic police report collisions and casualties on a daily basis but the millions of people who make it home safely is not reported.” That was his message for his critic.

Why are the attacks targeting only ethnic Amhara?  Why is it that the attacks are accompanied by the destruction of properties, and why is the attack brutal beyond words are some of the questions that some activists are posing. 

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