More than 100 people were killed in an ethnic massacre in western Ethiopia, according to the country’s human rights commission.
The Amhara Mass Media Agency, affiliated with the country’s Amhara region, in a separate report, cited witnesses who said the attack occurred on Wednesday in the Metekel area of the Benishangul-Gumuz region.
The attack came a day after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed visited the region and spoke about the need to bring those responsible for the recent attacks to justice. Ethnic tensions are a major challenge, as the PM tries to promote national unity in a country with more than 80 ethnic groups.
The attacks are separate from the deadly conflict in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, where Ethiopian forces and regional allied forces began fighting regional Tigray forces in early November.
Some people in remote villages remained under siege and under threat on Wednesday night, with the total death toll above 200, said Belete Molla, head of the Amhara National Movement political party. He said he spoke by phone to some residents.
AL-SHABAB OPERATIVE THAT DESIGNED ATTACK IN STYLE 9/11 IN THE US INDICATED, DOES NOT COMMIT
It was not clear who the attackers were, although Belete claimed they were members of the Gumuz militia. The ruling party in the region, the Benishangul-Gumuz Prosperity Party, said in a statement that “armed bandits” committed a “horrible crime”.
The amharas are the second most populous ethnic group in Ethiopia. Amharas in the region have been repeated targets in recent weeks.
A rebel attack on November 1 in western Oromia killed at least 54 people, according to Amnesty International.
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An attack in the Benishangul-Gumuz region in early October killed at least 14 civilians, according to a security official. Similar deadly attacks followed in September, which also displaced more than 300 people, prompting the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission to say that it was deeply alarmed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.