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Ethiopia: At least 100 dead in latest surge of violence against ethnic minorities

Ethiopia _ Benishangul Gumuz region

December 23, 2020

Responding to the horrifying killing of at least 100 people by armed assailants in Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz Region on the morning of 23 December, Netsanet Belay, Research and Advocacy Director of Amnesty International, said: Amnesty International said:

“This brutal attack against Amhara, Oromo and Shinasha residents of villages in Benishangul-Gumuz underscores the urgent need for the Ethiopian government to act to stop violence against ethnic minorities.”

“Amnesty International independently interviewed via phone five survivors of the attack and one official from Bulen District, all of whom described how armed members of the ethnic Gumuz community attacked houses of people from the Amhara, Oromo and Shinasha communities starting from around 5 am this morning. Perpetrators set homes alight and stabbed and shot people.

“At least 100 deaths have been reported so far. With dozens still unaccounted for and homes still ablaze, the death toll is likely to rise and there must be an urgent investigation into this horrendous attack. Perpetrators must be brought to justice and the Ethiopian authorities must make clear that this kind of violence will not be tolerated.

“While Amnesty international is unable to verify identities of the perpetrators, this attack appears to be the latest targeting of people of ethnic minorities in the area. Since September 2020, there have been successive waves of violence targeting the ethnic Amhara, Shinasha, Oromo and Agew residents of Benishangul-Gumuz Region.

“In September, armed people carried out multiple attacks on ethnic Amhara and Agew residents of Benishangul Region, killing at least 45 people and displacing thousands. Today’s attack came less than 24 hours after the Ethiopian Prime Minister discussed security and reconciliation efforts in the Benishangul-Gumuz Region – efforts which hav​e been undermined by this massacre.”

According to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, at least 34 Amhara and Agew people were killed by armed Gumuz forces while traveling by bus in Dibate District of Benishangul-Gumuz Region in November 2020. The armed assailants refer to the non-Gumuz ethnic minority communities as ‘Qey’ (literally translated as ‘red’), in apparent reference to their fair skin colour.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was in Metekel town on 22 December to discuss with regional officials how to resolve repeated violence targeting ethnic minorities in the region, who are perceived as ‘settlers’ by members of the ethnic Gumuz community.

For more information please contact press@amnesty.org

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  1. The attack is Genocide against Amhara, which are the majority in the place because it is a land of Amhara people but many . Before 27 years ago the place was called Gojjam province and there were no place called Benishangul Gumuz. 27 years ago TPLF thugs started bringing and settling South Sudanese people in the area and cut part of Gojjam and named it Benishangul to help TPLF in the land grab and looting scheme.
    Gojjam is populated mainly by Amhara but other minority ethnics groups such as Agew, Shinsaha, Oromo and Gumuz were also residing peacefully. Before 27 years ago not one person was killed because of his ethnicity or color of skin.

    Since the area now is rampaged by violent barbarians it must be joined and administered by Amhara zone administrators. There is no reason why Amharas should be daily murdered and bedeviled by TPLF ethnic boundaries that is purposely created to massacre Amhara ethnicity.
    The area administrators are criminals who belong in prisoners and sentenced to death because they are the collaborators of ethnic cleansing and who do not have neither the interest, knowledge and merit to be zone administors. Benishangul Gumuz zone must be scraped and revert it back to the peaceful province Gojjam known for centuries.


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