No end to violence in Ethiopia

Dhe northern region of Tigray is far from being pacified when violence flares up in another part of Ethiopia. More than 200 people were believed to have been killed in a massacre in the west of the country last week. According to reports from authorities, human rights organizations and the media, large numbers of armed men attacked Bekoji village in Metekel area on Wednesday night. Houses and fields were burned down and residents were murdered in their sleep. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced on Saturday that 25 women and a six-month-old toddler were among the 207 dead.

Christian Meier

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who had only visited the Benishangul-Gumuz region, where the village is located, the day before, wrote of a “tragedy” after the massacre and announced that he had sent units of the army to the area. The authorities later said that 42 men involved in the attack had been killed in skirmishes.

The security forces came late

It was initially unclear who these attackers were. The victims belong to different ethnic groups – the two largest ethnic groups in the country, Oromo and Amhara, as well as the Shinasha. Amnesty International reported that several survivors had blamed members of the Gumuz ethnic group for the bloodbath. Violence has occurred in Benishangul-Gumuz since 2019; As recently as mid-November, 34 people were killed in an attack on a bus.


Image: FAZ

The EHRC criticized the government for doing too little to protect the population in the region. In Ethiopian media reports it was said that the residents of Bekoji had “repeatedly” called the security forces for help, but that they only arrived after the attackers left the village around noon. The EHRC noted that security forces stationed in the area to attend the Prime Minister’s visit had withdrawn the evening before the attack. During his visit to Metekel, Abiy Ahmed discussed the ongoing violence with citizens and promised to improve the security situation.

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