More than 100 people have been killed in Ethiopia’s western region of Benishangul-Gumuz, in the latest massacre along ethnic lines in the country. These attacks are separate from the deadly conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region where Ethiopian forces and allied regional forces began fighting Tigray regional forces in early November and thousands of people have been killed.
Aaron Maasho, spokesman and senior adviser for the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), told Al Jazeera the Ethiopia massacre took place on Tuesday between 5 am and 7 am in the region of Benishangul-Gumuz, which borders Sudan and South Sudan. “We’ve received information that over 80 civilians were killed on January 12 in an area called Daletti in Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz region”, Aaron told AFP. Witnesses and officials said that at least 102 people were killed in the attack early on Wednesday in the Metekel zone.
The village of Daletti is located in the Metekel area, where hundreds of civilians have been killed by assailants using guns, knives, and other weapons in attacks going back to at least September.
Even before the Tigray war erupted last month, Abiy Ahmed’s government had been grappling with rising insecurity in many parts of the country. Violence between groups fighting over land and other resources has forced many hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes following Abiy taking office in 2018, according to UN estimates. Ethnic tensions are a big challenge as Prime Minister Abiy tries to promote national unity in a country with more than 80 ethnic groups. The recent violence has left many dead, injured and a good number still missing.
Although opposition politicians have described the violence as ethnically motivated, there has been no immediate information about the identity of the attackers and the perpetrators of the attack are still yet to be apprehended by the authorities.