Yet another ethnic based attack on the wake of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s visit to the Metekel Zone of Benishangul Gumuz has been reported. According to Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, the attack took place on 24 December 2020 around 4 pm in Metekel Zone, Bulen Woreda, Bekuji Kebele while the people that were attacked were sleeping. The assailants attacked using guns and fire on the people that were sleeping and so far more than 100 people have been killed, according to the Commission's report.
The commission’s press release states that there are 36 injured people that were getting medical attention in Bulen hospital and that their injuries show that the weapons used are guns and arrows. The Commission says it has observed that there were no police or peace keeping forces in the area and that the National Defence Force that was posted in that area had relocated to escort higher officials from the Federal and Regional government that were supposedly there on a diplomatic mission. Witnesses that the commission talked to had said that the attack happened following the defence forces leave from the area and it lasted till midday the next day.
The report shows that the people that died during the attack were mostly from the “Shinasha” tribe. Witnesses told the commission that the attackers were people that they knew by name and lived together.
In related news, in response to this horrifying event, the Research and Advocacy Director of Amnesty International said "Amnesty International independently interviewed five survivors of the attack and one official from Bulen District, all of whom described how armed members of the ethnic Gumuz community attacked houses of people from the Amhara, Oromo and Shinasha communities starting from around 5 am this morning. Perpetrators set homes alight and stabbed and shot people”
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was in Metekel town on 22 December to discuss with regional officials how to resolve repeated violence targeting ethnic minorities in the region, who are perceived as 'settlers' by members of the ethnic Gumuz community.
Based on the 2007 Census conducted by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA), the Benishangul-Gumuz Region has a total population of 784,345 and the ethnic groups in the region include the Amhara (25.41%), Berta (21.69%), Gumuz, Oromo (13.55%), Shinasha (7.73%) and Agaw-Awi (4.22%).