More than 80 civilians killed in western Ethiopia

More than 80 civilians died in the latest attack in an area of western Ethiopia that has seen recurring grisly violence in recent months, the national human rights commission said Wednesday, AFP reports. 

"We've received information that over 80 civilians were killed on January 12 in an area called Daletti" in Ethiopia's Benishangul-Gumuz region, Aaron Maasho, an advisor and spokesperson for the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), told AFP.

The village of Daletti is located in the Metekel area, where hundreds of civilians have been killed by assailants using guns, knives and other weapons in attacks going back to at least September.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has struggled to impose order in Metekel or explain what is driving the violence, despite visiting the area in December and empowering a command post to take charge of security there.

There is no known link between the violence and military operations in Ethiopia's northernmost Tigray region, where Abiy sent in troops in November to detain and disarm leaders of the dissident regional ruling party. Tuesday's attack in Metekel occurred between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m., with victims ranging in age from two to 45, Aaron said.

The EHRC, a government-affiliated but independent body, is "still chasing further details about the perpetrators" and how the victims were killed, he said. Opposition politicians have described the violence in Metekel as ethnically motivated, alleging a targeted campaign by ethnic Gumuz militias against members of other ethnic groups in the area, including the Amhara, Ethiopia's second-largest group.


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