The Ethiopian federal army “killed 42 members of the anti-peace forces who attacked civilians yesterday [Wednesday] in the town of Bekuji Kebele” and seized “firearms and arrows,” says the Benishangul-Gumuz regional government in a statement this Thursday, without specifying who these “forces opposed to peace” are.
According to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, a public but independent body, an armed group attacked the inhabitants of Bekuji Kebele in the Metekel administrative area at dawn on Wednesday, killing “more than 100 people “, injuring dozens. , destroying homes and burning crops. The commission indicated that the attack lasted eight hours and was launched the day after the departure “of contingents of the federal army previously positioned in the vicinity.”
This is the latest in a series of deadly attacks in recent months in the Metekel area, home to inhabitants of the Oromo, Amhara – the two largest in the country – and Shinasha ethnic groups. According to opposition leaders, these attacks are perpetrated by members of the Gumuz ethnic group and motivated by ethnic issues. The Ethiopian state news agency reported that five senior officials, including a federal government minister, have been arrested in connection with security issues in Benishangul-Gumuz.
Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy in October attributed this violence to fighters from the neighboring Sudanese state of the Blue Nile, where they are “armed and trained,” and called on Khartoum to solve the problem. Abiy called yesterday’s massacre a “tragedy” and said he would send more soldiers to the region. Furthermore, he affirmed that the purpose of the massacre was “to disperse the great force” sent since November 4 against the authorities of the secessionist region of Tigré, a conflict that, a priori, has no relation to the violence in Benishangul-Gumuz.