Authorities Make Arrests over Regional Violence

ADDIS ABEBA – A security official in western Ethiopia has said that several people have been arrested after a series of attacks in Benishangul Gumuz regional state.

The official in charge of security in the region, Abera Bayita, on Wednesday dismissed local media reports that more than 80 people were killed in the attacks but blamed the opposition parties for the violence.

They did not give a figure for the number who had died.

Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has already called for regional authorities to open investigations into the deadly violence.

A meeting on Thursday of the federal and regional authorities has “evaluated the sporadic security incidents that have been occurring, particularly in the border areas”, according to prime minister Abiya Ahmed.

“The 29 hostages taken in Benishangul-Gumuz region have been released,” Abiy Ahmed said wrote on Twitter, adding the attackers are “groups aimed at overturning the reforms journey”.

Benishangul Gumuz is made up of different ethnic groups and politicians are saying the violence was related to ethnicity.

A survivor told the BBC Amharic service that he fled to the forest when the attackers came to his home.

Several homes were destroyed and some local residents say they are still tracing their family members. Security officials said they have already managed to return over 25, 000 back to their home.