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Metekel, Ethiopia : death toll from the latest attack well over one hundred

The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Gumuz gunmen are said to be behind the attack in the Metekel zone of the region. 

Metekel Map

January 13, 2021

The death toll from the latest brutal massacre of ethic Amhara and ethnic Agaw in Metekel Zone of Benishangul Gumuz region — which happened on Tuesday around 5 :00 a.m — is well over 110. Twenty-four others are injured and there are also dead bodies that are not collected yet. 

The massacre happened in Daletti Kebele, Debati district of Metekel zone in Western Ethiopia. 

State media, Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC), spoke to eyewitnesses on Wednesday who confirmed that the death toll is more than 110. The victims are mostly women and children. 

For eyewitnesses, the massacre was not unexpected. “Residents in the area where the latest massacre happened have been voicing security concerns since Monday [ a day before the attack],” an eyewitness told state media. 

However, local authorities sabotaged timely arrival of the defense force to the area where more than 110 people were massacred.

Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has on Wednesday confirmed that massacre from eyewitnesses in Metekel but is yet to release a detailed report on it.  The commission seems to see a merit in making Metekel zone under the Federal government in the interest of protecting the interests of residents. 

“The Ethiopian Human Commission (EHRC) deplores yet another attack against civilians in Daletti Kebele, Debati Woreda of Benishangul-Gumuz’s Metekel Zone. The failure to ensure civilian safety calls for a reconsideration of full federal control of the Zone,” it said in its latest social media update. 

According to eyewitnesses, the attack on Tuesday was a coordinated one between Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) gunmen and Benishangul Gumuz region. 

The massacre came after the task force tasked to restore security in the region claimed improvement. Let. General Asrat Denero was put in charge of the task force. 

Reality on the ground suggests that the security situation is getting worse. There have been extensive killings, mostly against ethnic Amhara and ethnic Agaw, in the region since Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018.  But it has gone out of control since late August 2020. 

Abiy Ahmed leadership has a tendency to approach traditional and religious leaders when the matter is clearly purely politically motivated and that the traditional leaders had little or no control over those who are carrying out the massacre — apparently in coordination with the authorities in the government structure who are clandestinely working with the rebels.  

He was in Metekel in late December 2020 to hold discussions with residents and authorities. When he returned to Addis Ababa, more than one hundred people were massacred in the same zone. 

His administration has lost public trust when it comes to handling what now appears to be a coordinated ethnic cleansing project. As indicated above, Oromo Liberation Front is confirmed to have been involved in the latest killings. 

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