There are multiple actors behind massacres in Benishangul Gumuz region, says PM Abiy Ahmed.
December 22, 2020
For over two years now, the security situation in Benishangul Gumuz region of Ethiopia, especially in Metekel, continues to be a nightmare. And the victims are ethnic Amhara and ethnic Agaw — the very people who have lived for ages as part of the people in the region. Well over 200 people are believed to have been killed since September 2020.
Apart from failure to enforce the rule of law and protect the security of citizens, the government is criticized for not calling the series of attacks for what they are — ethnic cleansing against Amhara and Agaw in the region. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was in Metekel, a zone of Benishangul Gumuz region, on Tuesday, where recurring massacres took place. He described the situation as mere “security problem.”
The attackers are often described as unidentified individuals or groups or mercenaries of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Yet, the government, both at the regional and Federal level, admitted that Benishangul Gumuz regional authorities including in the security apparatus were involved in facilitating multiples of massacres over the past two and half years.
Why the government failed to stop what now seems to be an incessant killing of ethnic Amhara and Agaw in the region.
During a town hall meeting with residents of Metekel, PM Abiy Ahmed said “Although there has been an effort to permanently stop the security problem, it was difficult to stop it quickly due to multiples of actors,” as reported by Fana Broadcasting Corporate. It means that the attackers or groups behind them are no longer unidentified. And it may also mean that the massacre will continue before it is stopped.
He wrote on his social media page, “The desire by enemies to divide Ethiopia along ethnic and religious lines still exists. Like before, this desire will remain unfulfilled. In my discussions with residents of Metekel on current issues, the expressed will of our people for unity, peace, development and prosperity far outweighs any divisive agenda.”
The region’s president Ashadly Hassan who is believed to done nothing much to end the senseless killing in the region, based on public opinion on social media, and top Federal level government officials including the Minister for Peace and Chief of Staff of the Defense Force were present at the discussion.
Based on the prime minister speech during the meeting, there are armed groups operating in the wilderness in the region. For him, the armed rebellion has two factors ; some doing it out of grievances and others due to the mission they received from TPLF junta, in his words.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister said that the law enforcement work in the region needs to be impartial and neutral, and he called on government authorities in the region to do their part to “return those who are leading armed activity to peaceful life.”
Abiy Ahmed also wants religious leaders, youth and women organizations in the region to work relentlessly along the line of resolving what he calls “lack of peace” in the region.
Residents blame social media and TPLF’s 27 years of politics as the main cause of the problem in the region.
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