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Dozens Die in Ethnic Massacre in Troubled Ethiopian Region

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At least 80 folks had been killed on Tuesday when unidentified gunmen stormed by a village in western Ethiopia, within the newest of a sequence of ethnically pushed massacres within the space, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and witnesses stated on Wednesday.

The bloodbath in Benishangul-Gumuz area, alongside the border with Sudan, is the most recent problem to the regime of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who got here to energy in 2018 promising to unite Ethiopia however has struggled to include a rising wave of ethnic violence.

The assaults additional threaten the steadiness of Africa’s second-most populous nation at a time when Mr. Abiy is already embroiled in an escalating battle within the northern Tigray area, the place he launched a serious army operation on Nov. four that he stated was supposed to seize defiant native leaders.

Analysts say the marketing campaign in Tigray has hampered Mr. Abiy’s means to stem clashes just like the latest one in Benishangul-Gumuz, as a result of it has pressured him to divert troopers from throughout Ethiopia to Tigray. As a outcome, ethnic clashes that had already been rising for months have solely gotten worse.

In the most recent episode, witnesses stated that males of the Gumuz ethnic group, armed with rifles and swords, stormed into Daletti village early Tuesday. Photos from the aftermath of the assault, offered by native activists, confirmed bloodied our bodies of ladies and youngsters strewn on the bottom, many with horrific wounds. They stated that lots of the victims had been ethnic Amharas and Agaws, who’re a minority in that area.

“A group of Gumuz men came to our village chanting ‘leave our land,’” stated Sebsibie Ibrahim, 36, a store proprietor in Metekel district, talking by cellphone. “They fired their guns and used swords to attack anyone they came across — women, children, elderly people.”

In the chaos that adopted, homes had been torched and an previous man was beheaded outdoors his home, Mr. Sebsibie stated. “Blood was flooding from his neck,” he stated.

On Dec. 22, Mr. Abiy took trip from the marketing campaign in Tigray to go to Benishangul-Gumuz and calm tensions within the space. But a day later, armed males attacked a village, leaving not less than 100 folks lifeless, based on human rights teams.

Aaron Maasho, a spokesman for the government-funded Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, which reported the killings on Wednesday, urged Mr. Abiy to deploy further safety forces to maintain the peace within the troubled area.

“For the umpteenth time, we call on the federal and regional authorities to scale up security in Metekel,” he stated, referring to the district of Benishangul-Gumuz the place the killings passed off.

Mr. Abiy’s resolution to open up Ethiopian politics after he got here to energy in 2018, releasing political prisoners and permitting exiles to return, was extensively acclaimed. But it additionally unleashed simmering ethnic tensions.

Benishangul-Gumuz, for instance, is home to 5 main ethnic teams, largely from the Berta and Gumuz peoples. But the area can also be home to minority Amharas, Oromos, Tigrayans and Agaws — a supply of escalating rigidity.

Billene Seyoum, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Abiy, didn’t reply to questions concerning the violence.

Dessalegn Chanie, an Amhara opposition politician, stated there had been indicators in latest days that armed males from the Oromo and Gumuz ethnic teams had been getting ready an assault, notably in areas the place there was little federal safety presence.

“These attacks were premeditated and highly prepared,” he stated.

Although Mr. Abiy declared victory in Tigray final month, United Nations officers say the battle continues.

On Wednesday, Ethiopia stated its army had killed three senior members of Tigray’s former ruling get together, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, together with Seyoum Mesfin, a former international minister of Ethiopia.

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