The death toll from a massacre in western Ethiopia has risen to 207. The Red Cross says the death toll from Wednesday’s insurgent attack in the western Sangul Gumu region could rise further.
Prime Minister Abi Ahmed has condemned the rebel attack and warned of “complicity”. The rebels opened fire on civilians in the village of Bekoji in Bullen County, Metcalfe.
The local human rights commission said more than 400,000 people had been displaced by the insurgency. Human rights activists have said that the insurgents have been repeatedly killing and abducting people in the area where ethnic violence is taking place.
Despite government forces providing security following the rebel attack, the general public is still in a state of panic, according to international news agencies. Insurgents have repeatedly targeted the area since last September.
Ethiopia announces elections next June But even before that, many civilians have been killed and displaced due to repeated clashes between different ethnic groups. The European Union (EU) has issued a statement warning rebels not to repeat incidents of ethnic violence and human rights abuses. Agency
Amnesty International, which spoke with five survivors, said members of the ethnic Gumuz community attacked the homes of ethnic Amhara, Oromo and Shinasha, setting them on fire and stabbing and shooting residents. The Gumuz see minorities as “settlers,” the rights group said.
Dozens of people are still unaccounted for, Amnesty said.
The ruling party in the region, the Benishangul-Gumuz Prosperity Party, said in a statement that armed bandits had committed a “horrifying crime.”
Amharas are the second most populous ethnic group in Ethiopia, and they have been targeted repeatedly in recent weeks. One rebel attack on Nov. 1 in the far western Oromia region killed at least 54 people, according to Amnesty International.
An attack in the Benishangul-Gumuz region in early October killed at least 14 civilians, according to a security official. It followed similar deadly attacks in September that also displaced over 300 people, leading the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission to say it was deeply alarmed.