More than 100 people have been killed by unknown attackers in a village in western Ethiopia, the country’s human rights commission has said, a nurse at a local clinic told the BBC that more than 30 people had been admitted to the facility, including some in a critical condition.
Some of the victims were shot, while others were stabbed, the nurse added, Wednesday’s attack in the Benishangul-Gumuz region came a day after a visit by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. In a statement, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission said the attack took place in the village of Bekoji, which lies in an area home to multiple ethnic groups. “More than 100 people have been killed in fires and shooting perpetrated by armed men” during the pre-dawn attack, the commission said. Beyene Melese, a spokesperson for the state government, blamed what he called “anti-peace elements” for the attack.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Abiy travelled to the region to discuss the recurrence of ethnic-based violence in recent months. “The desire by enemies to divide Ethiopia along ethnic & religious lines still exists,” the prime minister wrote on twitter after his visit. “This desire will remain unfulfilled.” Benishangul-Gumuz has witnessed at least four deadly attacks since September, including a gun attack on a passenger bus in November that killed 34 people. The violence in the area is not thought to be related to a ground and air offensive launched by the government in the northern Tigray region last month.
Hundreds, or even thousands, of people are thought to have been killed in that conflict, while about 50,000 have fled to neighbouring Sudan.