Ethiopia has declared a state of emergency in the southern part of the Amhara region in an effort to stop deadly ethnic violence.
The move came after three days of violence in the town of Ataye, the Ministry of Defense said, adding that the army had already been deployed. quenching unrest. The ministry said an unknown number of people were killed in the attacks.
Ethiopia’s chief of inspection, Endale Haile, told AFP news agency that violence in Amhara killed more than 300 people in a few days in March.
The latest violence appears to target Oromia special zones in the country’s second most populous state.
The Amhara region is dominated by the Amhara ethnic group – Ethiopia’s second largest ethnic group – but the Oromo special zone is predominantly populated by Oromos, the country’s largest ethnic group.
What caused the violence in Amhara?
Ethiopia is made up of 10 semi-autonomous federal states organized by lineages, and ethnic violence has increased in recent years.
Africa’s second most populous nation is struggling to control some of the hotspots where ethnic competitions for land, power and resources erupt before the scheduled national election. in June.
Civilians of ethnic groups living on either side of the border between Amhara and Oromia have been the subject of attacks in recent months.
Conflict has been largely driven by groups that require more land and power, in an effort to eliminate those they see as outsiders.
In March, the attackers killed at least 30 civilians, mostly Amharas, in an attack on a village in Oromia. Local authorities blamed the attack on a small group of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), known as the OLF Shane or the Oromo Liberation Army.
OLF Shane, said they are fighting for Oromos rights, has declined responsibility for the deadly attack. The OLF is an opposition party that has lived in exile for many years but its ban was lifted after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018.
Abiy took power after several years of protests organized by Amhara and Oromo youth against the government dominated by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) for 30 years.
Abiy has promised to hold free and fair polls in June, but some of his reforms have also angered strong groups and groups in the region by what they describe as decades of repressive government.
The violence in Amhara resulted in sniping between the wings of Oromo and Amhara of Abiy’s Prosperity Party, who openly accuse each other of responsibility.
Has ethnic violence occurred in other regions?
In March, the Ethiopian Amhara area denied allegations of participation by its forces “Ethnic purification” in the country’s crowded Tigray region after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for the withdrawal of troops from Amhara and troops from neighboring Eritrea.
Tigrayan officials accused forces from Amhara for raping thousands of people off land to the west of Tigray – part of an area where the Amharas legally believed to belong to them.
The UN said it has endorsed serious offenses that could become “war crimes and crimes against humanity” in the Tigray region of Ethiopia by many parties, including by Eritrean army.
Meanwhile, more than 100 people have was killed earlier this month in the border clashes between the Afar and Somali regions. The two regions blamed their special forces for the death.
Militias from the two eastern states clashed before crossing disputed boundaries. In October of last year, 27 people were killed in a wave of border clashes, each blaming the other.
In the Benishangul-Gumuz area, at least 100 people, including children, were killed by attackers in December. Attackers burned houses, and shot and stabbed everyone as they tried. try to run away.
Amnesty International said it interviewed 5 survivors and an official identified the attackers as members of the Gumuz ethnic community. They said the house where the attackers belonged to the communities of Amhara, Oromos and Shinasha.
How did the government respond?
Addis Ababa has sent federal troops to affected areas.
In December, the military said it had killed at least 40 suspects involved in the Benishangul-Gumuz massacre.
Leaders from the Afar and Somali regions have also held talks to find a breakthrough in their boundary disputes.