By Siyanne Mekonnen @Siyaanne
Addis Abeba, September 25/2020 – A fresh attack by “unknown assailants” in Bengez Kebele, Dangur Wereda of the Benishangul Gumuz regional state has left more than 20 civilians dead, Amhara Mass Media Agency quoted local residents as saying. The news was confirmed by local authorities.
The attack happened early this morning at around 4:00 AM local time, according to the news. Speaking to AMMA on the phone, the local administrator Demilew Bengez said that authorities feared the attack was imminent but because it happened at night it was impossible to prevent it and apprehend the perpetrators.
Desalegn Idriss, Dangur Wereda administrator on his part said there were no unusual activities in the said area and that security forces were dispatched and were monitoring the area, the news further said. “Based on prior intelligence about imminent attacks, we informed local people not to be in the areas, however we have no knowledge how displaced people have went back [to the area],” AMMA quoted Desalegn as saying, adding it was investigating details about the attacks.
The news came less than ten days after weeks long attacks carried out by yet undisclosed, heavily armed militiamen in various localities of Metekel zone, Benishangul Gumuz regional state, have left unknown numbers of civilian causalities and destruction of properties. A statement released by Ethiopian Defense Forces (ENDF) admitted that its forces have secured the release of 27 civilians kidnapped by armed men and that its members were arresting those responsible for the attacks in Bulen, Wenbera, Guba, Dibati, Dangur and Mandura Woredas. The statement from the ENDF Western Command said that its members were in charge of the security in the area as of September 06 upon the invitation of Benishangul Gumuz regional state.
Earlier today, federal officials from ministry of revenue and customs authority as well as high level officials from Amhara and Benshangul Gumuz regional states have visited displaced civilians who are victims of the attacks in Bulen Wereda and provided them with food and other essential goods.
On September 23, the Benishangul Gumz regional state peace and security bureau said some 371 suspects were arrested in the previous three days in connection with the violence which targeted civilian community members in Bulen Woreda, an area where Amhara, Shinasha, Gumuz and Agew communities reside.
According to the Bureau, additional 13 suspects and eight different weapons were confiscated the day on September 22. Abera Bayata, head of the Regional State Peace and Security Bureau, added that five suspects were arrested along with six weapons, including Jim-3 and 5 Kalashnikov, in the Epar Kebele of Bulen Woreda.
Similarly, Abera said that five suspects who were directly involved in the violence in Melkan Kebele of Wombera Woreda were arrested with their two Kalashnikovs following a coordinated effort by regional and federal security forces and the community.
“Law enforcement activities to uphold the rule of law are being carried out in all areas of Metekel zone” he told the regional communication affairs office, adding that two suspects in Dangur Woreda and another one in Guba Woreda have been arrested. “The leadership, federal and regional security forces and the community will continue to strengthen the work being done to maintain the rule of law in the zone.” Abera said.